DOJ To Drop Hammer On Google Book Search Settlement?

Friday could be an important day in the ongoing battle over the Google Book Search settlement. According to the Wall Street Journal, the US Department of Justice is expected to announce its concerns over the proposed $125 million settlement of the lawsuit over Google’s scanning of copyrighted books and making them available online.

The DOJ formally announced its investigation in July, citing anti-trust concerns and the general competitive impact of the settlement.

The Wall Street Journal outlines one of the DOJ’s expected arguments from tomorrow’s filing:

“…the Justice Department is concerned that one of the agreement’s features — a “registry” that governs aspects of the agreement such as some pricing and payment distributions — could allow publishers to set prohibitively high prices for their works, said one of the people familiar with the matter.”

The Journal also says the Justice Department may recommend further negotiations; a Fairness Hearing in the case is scheduled for October 7th. Earlier this week, Google CEO Eric Schmidt told Danny Sullivan that he’s “open to a better solution,” but hasn’t heard one from the settlement’s critics.

Marketwatch.com is also reporting that at least five states have filed objections to the settlement. The attorneys general argue that it’s unlawful to allow the book registry to keep payments that are intended for copyright holders that can’t be found.

While we’re on the subject of books and Google, the company announced a partnership today with On Demand Books that will make public domain books in Google’s archives available for purchase through ODB’s Espresso Book Machine. The machine takes a PDF file and converts it into a paperback book, complete with bound cover and all, in a matter of minutes.

Related Topics: Channel: Industry | Google: Book Search | Google: Legal

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About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Search Engine Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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