Google Books Unsettled

The Google Books Settlement was tossed out by U.S. District Judge Denny Chin, arguing that it gave too much power to Google in allowing the company “significant rights to exploit entire books.”

The major problem appears to be the issue of orphaned works, those books which may still be protected by copyright, but do not have a means by which to determine if they actually are, or even who would be the true owner.

In the court ruling (pdf), Chin noted that the issues surrounding orphaned works “is a matter more suited for Congress than this court.”

I would hope that some way can be created through legislation to effectively deal with orphaned works, not only for corporations which lots of resources, but for the rest of us as well, who might not have access to lawyers.

And while we are being hopeful, how about an expansion of Fair Use that would allow for full-text indexing while still protecting the rights holders?  Not only would that be “fair”, but the texts would certainly get a lot more “use” if people could discover what they contained!

I don’t hold out much hope for a fair and reasonable review of current copyright law in the near future, however….

found via Peter Murray

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