On Tuesday, the Google Book Search settlement was postponed for four months to give authors more time to decide whether to participate in the settlement or opt out. The deadline to opt out is now September 4, 2009 and the final hearing will be on October 7, 2009. According to an article on CNET, the four month extension appears to have been in direct response to a request from a group of authors and not in response to Google’s request for a 60-day extension to ensure that rightholders are given enough time to respond. Gabriel Stricker, a spokesperson for Google commented, “We're excited about the proposed settlement agreement regarding Google Book Search. As we've said previously, the settlement is highly detailed, and we want to make sure rightsholders everywhere have enough time to think about it and make sure it's right for them.” Although Google was in favor of a delay, the postponement may actually benefit the parties opposed to the settlement. John Simpson, a consumer advocate with Consumer Watchdog, commented, “The four-month extension is a big victory for those who oppose the Google Books settlement. It's a clear recognition by the judge that there are problems with the proposed deal. The extension also gives the Justice Department more time to consider the antitrust issues that we and others have raised and discussed with them." As mentioned previously, if the settlement is approved, Google could gain exclusive rights to the orphan books held in university libraries which would easily affect every community and stakeholder in our industry.
The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF) has also posted a video and a summary of the Copyright, Content and Class Action Lawsuits: A Debate on the Google Book Search Settlement event held last week at the Library of Congress. Participants in the panel included: Dr. Alan Inouye, Director of the American Library Association’s Office for Information Poicy; Dr. Daniel Clancy, Engineering Director for Google Book Search; Allan Adler, VP of Government Affairs for the Association of American Publishers; and Peter Brantley, Director of Access for the Internet Archive.