Recommended Changes to Google Book Search Settlement
New York Law School professor James Grimmelman has written an impressive, even-handed blogpost about the Google-AAP-Authors Guild settlement in which he lays out five principles to guide the court and the public. He closes with fourteen “recommendations” to the court:
that is, concrete changes the court ought to make to the Settlement. Here’s a summary, but the entire (15-page) post is well worth a close read:
1. Put library and reader representatives on the Registry’s board.
2. Require the Registry to sign an antitrust consent decree.
3. Give future authors and publishers the same deal as current ones.
4. Strike the most-favored-nations clause.
5. Allow Google’s competitors to offer the same services the settlement allows Google to offer, with the same obligations.
6. Authorize the Registry to negotiate on copyright owners’ behalf with Google’s competitors.
7. Prohibit Google from price discriminating in individual book sales.
8. Insert strict guarantees of reader privacy.
9. Protect readers from being asked to waive their rights as a condition of access.
10. Require that Google’s database of in-print/out-of-print information be made public.
11. Require that the Registry’s database of copyright owner information be made public.
12. Require the use of standard APIs, open data formats, and (for metadata) unrestricted access.
13. Require that Google inform the public when it excludes a book for editorial reasons.
14. Tighten up the definition of “non-editorial reasons” for excluding a book.
15. Allow any institution ready, willing, and able to participate in scanning books to do so.
1. The settlement should be approved.
2. The Registry poses an antitrust problem.
3. If it didn’t already, Google poses an antitrust problem.
4. Enforce reasonable consumer-protection standards.
5. Make the public goods generated by the project truly public.