Book Ruling Cuts Options for Google
By CLAIRE CAIN MILLER
Published: March 23, 2011
SAN FRANCISCO — Now that a judge has curtailed Google’s ambitions to create a giant digital bookstore and library, the company is left with few appealing options.
Google and groups representing publishers and authors were assessing their options Wednesday, trying to figure out whether they would remain allies or become enemies again.
The two sides seemed unlikely to agree on a new settlement. Their original settlement, which would have let Google scan and make available every book ever published, was rejected by a federal judge Tuesday, the latest twist in a seven-year legal process.
Instead, Google may take the battle from the courtroom to Congress, to promote a law that would make orphan works — books that are still under copyright but whose author or copyright owner can’t be found — widely available.
“The publishers have said, ‘We want to settle,’ but Google’s motivation to settle is quite a bit lower,” said Pamela Samuelson, an expert in digital copyright law at the University of California, Berkeley, who has opposed the settlement. Still, she said, Google, which has already scanned 15 million books, is unlikely to give up. “The next thing to do is think about going to Congress and getting legislation that would make particularly orphan works available to the public,” she said.