Faced with mounting criticism of the proposed Google Books settlement, the Internet giant has asked the court to extend the time for authors, publishers and their heirs to decide if they want to be part of the deal.
An announcement of the request came late Monday afternoon in a posting on Google's Public Policy Blog by Alexander Macgillivray, Associate General Counsel for Products and Intellectual Property.
On Friday, as reported on the NYTimes.com blog "Bits" by Miguel Helft, heirs of John Steinbeck were among those asking for a four-month extension. Late Friday Google asked Federal district Judge Denny Chin to deny that request, but grant a two-month delay.
Here's Macgillivray's reason for a two-month delay as explained on the Google blog:
"It's pretty easy for credit card companies to contact their cardholders -- they send bills to them all the time. The world's authors, publishers and their heirs are much more difficult to find...
"The settlement is highly detailed, and we want to make sure rightsholders everywhere have enough time to think about it and make sure it's right for them. That's why we've asked the court for permission to extend the opt-out deadline for an extra 60 days."
Consumer Watchdog is among those opposing the settlement. We've asked the U.S. Department of Justice to intervene on antitrust grounds.
It does seem to me that Google's request for a delay is more about quelling mounting opposition, rather than making "sure rightsholders everywhere have enough time to think..."