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Open Book Alliance lauds DOJ filing in Google Book case

Digital books database project goes into rewrite

Posted: September 22, 2009 12:44 p.m.
Updated: September 22, 2009 9:50 p.m.
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Open Book Alliance, a coalition of librarians, legal scholars, authors, publishers and technology companies created to counter the proposed Google Book Settlement in its current form, issued the following statement on Sept. 18 in response to the Department of Justice's filing with the U.S. District Court:

"The Open Book Alliance is pleased with the action taken today by the Department of Justice, which we believe will help to protect the public interest and preserve competition and innovation.

"Despite Google's vigorous efforts to convince them otherwise, the Department of Justice recognizes that there are significant problems with terms of the proposed settlement, which is consistent with the concerns voiced with the Court by hundreds and hundreds of other parties.

"The members of the Open Book Alliance recognize the tremendous value that the mass digitization of books can bring to consumers, libraries, scholars and students. Making books searchable, readable and downloadable promises to unlock huge amounts of our collective cultural knowledge for a broader audience than was ever possible.

"But, as we've noted, this settlement is the wrong way to go about making this promise a reality. The current settlement proposal would stifle innovation and competition in favor of a monopoly over the access, distribution and pricing of the largest collection of digital books in the world, and would reinforce an already dominant position in search and search advertising.

"While we will continue to study the details of the filing, the Open Book Alliance looks forward to the opportunity to inform the ongoing discussions about how to make the promise of the mass digitization of books a reality."

In the wake of the DOJ filing, the parties, including Google, agreed on Sept. 22 to postpone a scheduled Oct. 7 hearing and hammer out a revised agreement. The parties propose to reconvene Nov. 9. -- Editor


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