US court delays approval of Google Books deal

Final US court approval of the controversial $125m...

Final US court approval of the controversial $125m Google Books settlement with US authors and publishers has been delayed.

The federal judge in New York tasked with reviewing the settlement has granted requests from both sides to renegotiate the deal.

Judge Denny Chin of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York had been scheduled to oversee a hearing on 7 October on whether to approve the deal reached in 2008.

He said it did not make sense to go ahead with the hearing because it appears that the current settlement agreement will be the operative one.

Last week the US Department of Justice urged the parties to modify the settlement because of concerns that it violated competition laws, according to Reuters.

The deal set up to allow Google to sell digital versions of out-of-print, copyrighted books has raised US and European concerns about how it will affect international copyright law.

German publishers yesterday criticised European regulators for failing to take a stand against the US deal to allow Google to create an online library.

Instead of the hearing on October 7, the judge scheduled a "status conference" on that date to determine how to proceed with the case.

French publishers challenging the legality of Google's book scanning project in a Paris court yesterday accused Google of "brutally" exploiting France's literary heritage.

They asked the court to fine Google $22.09 million and $150,000 for each day it continues to violate copyright by digitising their books.

Despite this widespread and growing opposition, Google argues that scanning and publishing millions of books online makes access to information on the web more democratic.

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