Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Nimmer: Should Google Be a Regulated Utility Under Its 'Settlement'?

The No on Google Books campaign proceeds. The last time I clicked, the German government had filed papers pointing out that the proposed settlement violates that country's copyright and privacy laws.

Consensus can be overrated, but when opposition is so relentless and from so many sources, there is a pattern of legitimacy to it. For me, the only open question is whether Judge Denny Chin believes his eyes and does something about it on or before October 7, the date of the settlement "fairness hearing."

Once again, I don't represent this blog as the go-to place for Google Books. I will be having more to say shortly about our Supreme Court case, Reed Elsevier v. Muchnick, and how it relates to Google. But right now I do want to point everyone to the views of the distinguished copyright expert Raymond T. Nimmer, whose blog post "Should Google be a regulated utility under its 'Settlement'?" nails the key private profit/public benefit nexus of the Googleization of Everything. The link is

The only way the settlement would be acceptable, Nimmer suggests, would be if Google were then treated "like a utility, common carrier, or essential facility that should be required to provide low cost, non-discriminatory access to all others and its profit from this anti-competitive agreement and the asset created with the power and sanction of the court should be closely regulated."

A mouthful, and it could have been expressed more elegantly, but it's on the nose.


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