Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Google Settlement Intervention Underscores Freelance Objectors' Point

The advocacy group Consumer Watchdog is asking for Attorney General Eric Holder's intervention to delay the Google book settlement. See Publishers Weekly, "Consumer Group Protests Google Settlement," http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/CA6649670.html?nid=2286&source=link&rid=1433253538&.

The April 1 letter from Consumer Watchdog's John M. Simpson to the Justice Department says:

"Implementing such major changes in the way the publishing industry functions through a class action settlement is unprecedented. Normally Congress or regulatory bodies would be involved in a transformation of this magnitude and the interests of all stakeholders would be considered."

After you screen out the technical flaws of the freelance settlement, that is also precisely what is wrong with allowing the associational plaintiff writers' organizations and a handful of named plaintiffs to reshape the landscape of secondary rights management of newspaper, magazine, and journal articles. And I expect that to be part of the Supreme Court's calculus in Reed Elsevier v. Muchnick.


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