Open Book Alliance Files Brief Countering Proposed Google Book Settlement

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openbookalliancepress@yahoo.com

SAN FRANCISCO, September 8, 2009 – The Open Book Alliance today filed a brief with the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York countering the proposed settlement between Google, the Association of American Publishers (AAP), and the Authors’ Guild.

The brief was written by noted antitrust attorney Gary Reback, who is co-founder of the Open Book Alliance. The brief said:

“Google and the plaintiff publishers secretly negotiated for 29 months to produce a horizontal price fixing combination, effected and reinforced by a digital book distribution monopoly. Their guile has cleared much of the field in digital book distribution, shielding Google from meaningful competition.

“The parties now seek the Court’s formal blessing to fix prices, restrain competition, and retard technological advancement. More specifically, they seek waivers in the enforcement of both our nation’s antitrust laws (to create a horizontal cartel of thousands of book publishers through the contrivance of class certification) and the nation’s copyright laws (to sell for their own benefit orphan books they do not own). The parties argue that the evils of price-fixing and monopoly necessarily attend the creation of their new product – that there will be no universal library and bookstore without stifling competition. But that is not so. There are far less onerous alternatives. For example, through the simple expedient of compulsory licensing, a technique well known and successfully employed in antitrust, many of the competitive problems associated with the parties’ scheme can be avoided.”

The full brief can be found at http://www.openbookalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/OBA09082009googlebrief.pdf.

The Open Book Alliance is a coalition of librarians, legal scholars, authors, publishers, and technology companies created to counter the proposed Google Book Settlement in its current form. The Open Book Alliance can be found online at http://www.openbookalliance.org, and on Twitter @OBAlliance.

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December 14, 2009
Notice begins

January 28, 2010
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January 28, 2010
Deadline to file objections and/or amicus briefs

February 4, 2010
Deadline to file notice of intent to appear at Fairness Hearing

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DOJ response

February 11, 2010
Plaintiffs move for final approval

February 18, 2010
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March 31, 2011
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