Google Inc and a group of authors and publishers are talking to the US Department of Justice (DOJ) about modifications to a settlement designed to make millions of out-of-print books available online, two people familiar with the discussions said.
The discussions are aimed at modifying the settlement in ways that ease Justice Department concerns that the deal would let Google discourage other companies from competing for access to the books online, said one of the people.
Both spoke on Wednesday on condition of anonymity.
US District Judge Denny Chin in New York on Wednesday ordered Google and the other parties to the settlement to respond to an outpouring of viewpoints questioning the plan to create a digital book library.
Chin said he has received about 400 filings by individuals and groups who object to the deal, support it or want some legal points to be considered.
He ordered the parties in the case to respond by Oct. 2 “in light of the volume of submissions and the apparent public interest in the case.”
Chin plans to hold an Oct. 7 hearing to decide whether to approve the US$125 million agreement reached by Google to establish a “Book Rights Registry,” which would identify and compensate rights holders whose books have been scanned by Google.
The settlement was reached last year with the Author’s Guild, Pearson Plc’s Penguin and Education units, McGraw-Hill Co, John Wiley & Sons Inc and CBS Corp’s Simon & Schuster subsidiary.