The Next Chapter in the Google Books Saga

By Alexis C. Madrigal

Mark your calendar for April 25, when lawyers on all sides of the Google Books Settlement will reconvene to signal how the agreement between Google, the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers may change after a federal judge rejected it last month.

It's unclear exactly what modifications the parties may offer, but they'll need to do something in light of Judge Denny Chin's strongly worded judgment. "U.S. Circuit Judge Denny Chin in Manhattan said the creation of a universal library would 'simply go too far,' and he was troubled by the differences between Google's views and those of everyone affected by the settlement," the AP summarized.

The settlement, originally announced on October 28, 2008, has drawn objections from all types of groups. And theoretically, there are certainly good objections. Practically, though, my question has always been: who else is paying to scan 15 million books and making them available online? What are the real, not theoretical, alternatives?

I'll be investigating those questions this month in the lead-up to the April 25 court date.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2011/04/the-next-chapter-in-the-google-books-saga/236886/