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Dept of Justice Rejects Revised Google Book Deal

Google recently revised an agreement it made with the Authors Guild and Association of American Publishers because so many different countries and anti-competition bodies opposed the deal. Reached in 2008, the $125 million settlement would see Google scan and display thousands of out-of-print books. Unfortunately, it looks like the tweaks Google made to the deal were not enough to appease the Department of Justice.

Daily Finance reports that the DOJ's beef with the new agreement is whether the Authors Guild and the AAP have any right to speak for the entire industry. The Justice Department said that while it believed Google and the involved parties had approached things with the best of intentions, the revised agreement suffers from the same core problem as the original.

"Although the United States believes the parties have approached this effort in good faith and the ASA [Amended Settlement Agreement] is more circumscribed in its sweep than the original Proposed Settlement, the ASA suffers from the same core problem as the original agreement: it is an attempt to use the class action mechanism to implement forward-looking business arrangements that go far beyond the dispute before the Court in this litigation. As a consequence, the ASA purports to grant legal rights that are difficult to square with the core principle of the Copyright Act that copyright owners generally control whether and how to exploit their works during the term of copyright. Those rights, in turn, confer significant and possibly anticompetitive advantages on a single entity -- Google."

The opinion of the Justice Department is likely to contribute to the decision made by the U.S. District Court at the February 18 fairness hearing in New York.

Read more here.