As Deadline Passes, NWU, Consumer Watchdog Join Google Books Objectors

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The National Writers Union and Consumer Watchdog were among those to
file briefs urging rejection as the Google Book Search Settlement
deadline officially passed this morning. Although the final lineup of
objectors won’t be known until all the last-minute briefs have been
processed by the court, the groups join DC Comics, The American Society
of Journalists and Authors, a coalition of some 58 authors and the Open
Book Alliance (which includes Google competitors Microsoft and in urging the court to reject the proposed settlement. 

National Writers Union president Larry Goldbetter said that the
settlement has prompted “justified outrage and objections from writers
of all types, across the country and around the world,” by abridging
writers’ economic and "moral" rights. “We can’t let Google or any
mega-corporation steal our work, re-publish it and sell ads around it
without permission and paying us only a pittance.” Goldbetter said NWU
would fight the proposed settlement in court, with the antitrust
division of the Department of Justice, and through Congress, and last
week, called on former Vice President Al Gore, a Google senior advisor, to urge Google a delay in the settlement proceedings.

Consumer Watchdog, meanwhile, a Washington-based advocacy group, this morning filed a brief urging
the court to reject the settlement as anticompetitive, lacking in
privacy protections for consumers, and counter to U.S. and
international law.  “The proposed class-action settlement is
monumentally overbroad and invites the Court to overstep its legal
jurisdiction, to the detriment of consumers and the public,” read the
Consumer Watchdog brief, adding that the deal would “strip rights from
millions of absent class members, worldwide, in violation of national
and international copyright law, for the sole benefit of Google.” 

In a statement, Consumer Watchdog’s John Simpson also criticized the
deal’s lack of transparency and representation. “The proposed book
settlement was negotiated in secret by the parties in the suit and
there was no opportunity to represent and protect the broad interests
of all consumers,” said John M. Simpson, consumer advocate with
Consumer Watchdog. “The proposed class action settlement claims to
resolve the actual dispute between the parties, but it also goes much,
much farther, and purports to enroll millions of absent class members
in a series of new business ‘opportunities.’"

Consumer Watchdog
Consumer Watchdog
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