In October 2008 Google reached a settlement proposal with a group of authors and publishers who sued the internet giant for freely distributing up to 3 short passages from over ten million different books from various libraries. Now, a New York Judge postponed an October 7 hearing, according to the Los Angeles Times. The Judge cited that the plaintiffs would probably make substantial amendments to the settlement proposed by Google, and changes could not possibly be made to the 300 page document in the short amount of time until October 7.
Google’s settlement offered to charge fees for the download and use of copyrighted books which would be paid to the owner of the works, but Google was also happy to include a provision keeping fees charged for publications without clear owners, rather than continuing to provide those for free. Antitrust issues have also been brought up in the delay of the settlement hearing. A blog started by members of UC Berkeley’s School of Information, and Boalt Law School called the Google Books Case the number one most important pending cyberlaw case today, with Warrantless Wiretapping Cases coming in second, and to my surprise, File Sharing cases coming in a distant sixth. Sorry amature Cyberlaw geeks, the subtle Napster or Kazaa reference is officially démodé.