According to an article from The New York Times, the final hearing for the Google Book Settlement has been postponed indefinitely to give the parties time to re-work the agreement so that it complies with copyright and antitrust laws. A fairness hearing for the settlement was set to take place on October 7, 2009 but was officially postponed after the Authors Guild, Association of American Publishers, and other plaintiffs in the case requested more time due to the number of objections and briefs filed with the court. A posting from the Bits blog reports that more than 400 filings were received and the majority discussed issues pertaining to the agreement.
In Judge Denny Chin’s order he wrote, “The current settlement agreement raises significant issues, as demonstrated not only by the number of objections, but also by the fact that the objectors include countries, states, nonprofit organizations, and prominent authors and law professors. Clearly, fair concerns have been raised.”
Judge Chin also commented on the potential benefits of the settlement he noted, “On the other hand, the proposed settlement would offer many benefits to society, as recognized by supporters of the settlement as well as D.O.J. It would appear that if a fair and reasonable settlement can be struck, the public would benefit.”
Judge Chin will hold a status conference on October 7th in place of the hearing to discuss how to proceed with the case “as expeditiously as possible.”