Libraries, Publishers and Leading Advocates Join Open Book Alliance in Calling for Open, Transparent Settlement Process in Google Book Search Case

October 6, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Dozens of leading academic, library, consumer advocacy, organized labor and publishing organizations joined the Open Book Alliance today in calling on Google and its litigation partners to create an open and transparent process to negotiate a settlement in the Google Book Search case. The parties published an open letter to Google, the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers, demanding that they include key stakeholders to represent the broad range of public interests in the mass digitization of books. Google and its partners abandoned a previous settlement proposed in the case after the U.S. Department of Justice and others criticized the deal and recommended that the court reject it, but Google and the plaintiff publishers continue to negotiate behind closed doors on a revised settlement proposal.

The letter, available at

http://www.openbookalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/Open-Letter-Oct-6-09.pdf, states in part:

“The Department of Justice identified scores of serious problems with the proposed settlement, which cannot be fixed with simple alterations to the agreement. Other stakeholders raised even more objections, which the parties have largely ignored. In order to address these very real and very complex challenges, negotiations on this issue must involve a broad range of stakeholders in an open and transparent manner.”

Joining the Open Book Alliance in calling on Google and its partners to open the process in service of the public interest are leading library associations such as the New York Library Association, the Ohio Library Council, the New Jersey Library Association, and the Special Libraries Association; publishers such as the Council of Literary and Magazine Presses and Sarabande Books; writers’ representatives such as the National Writers Union/UAW Local 1981; and many others concerned that Google will unfairly monopolize the mass digitization of books, raising prices for consumers and limiting access to important literary works.

The letter signatories universally support the goal of book digitization – making books searchable, readable and downloadable. They insist, however, that Google and a few publishing groups not be permitted to be the sole controllers of this major cultural development, saying:

“Discussion and debate about the right way to digitize the world’s written works must proceed through a robust process that includes input from all stakeholders, including authors, libraries, independent publishers, consumer advocates, state Attorneys General, the Justice Department, and Congress.”

Google and its partners have demonstrated that they will prioritize their own narrow commercial interests over the public interest in pursuing book digitization efforts, and any revised settlement that does not include a broad range of stakeholders is destined to jeopardize consumers’ and authors’ rights. The Open Book Alliance and the other letter signatories today tell Google and its partners: “No more closed doors – let’s do it right.”

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.

SOURCE Open Book Alliance

Source: newswire

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