Google agrees to Settlement delay

<p>Google, the US Author&#39;s Guild and the Association of American Publishers have acceded to a two-month delay to the resolution of the Google Settlement to allow those affected &quot;more time to consider [their] rights and options&quot;. It follows a request made last week by a number of authors, including representatives of the estate of John Steinbeck, to the New York judge presiding over the Settlement to delay the agreement by four months. Google and the plaintiffs have asked the judge to deny the request for a four-month delay. </p><p>If the judge agrees to the delay the opt-out date could be be moved from 5th May 2009 to the 6th July, or even later, with the Fairness Hearing (at which the Settlement will be rejected or passed) postponed until the end of August, or even later. Any delay will be relief to many who are just coming to terms with the 300-page Settlement, which was agreed between Google and the US Author&#39;s Guild and the American Association of Publishers in October last year. </p><p>In a letter to the judge, lawyers acting for the US Author&#39;s Guild (but with the authorization of Google and the Association of American Publishers) said the arguments presented by the authors were &quot;without merit&quot;, but that a 60-day delay would give them more time to digest the Settlement. It suggested an opt-out deadline of 6th July, with the final Fairness Hearing earmarked for a date after 20th August.<br /><br />Writing on the Google Blog, Alexander Macgillivray, associate general counsel for products and intellectual property at Google, stated: &quot;The Settlement is highly detailed, and we want to make sure rightsholders everywhere have enough time to think about it and make sure it&#39;s right for them. That&#39;s why we&#39;ve asked the court for permission to extend the opt-out deadline for an extra 60 days.&quot;<br /><br />Lawyers acting for seven authors and their heirs, including heirs to both the John Steinbeck and Philip K Dick estates, sent their letter to the New York judge Denny Chin on 24th April, saying that &quot;more time [was] required simply to understand the complex terms of the agreement&quot; and that &quot;substantial defects in notice of the Settlement undermine authors&#39; ability to assess their rights&quot;.</p><p>The authors&#39; lawyers, who had previously been informed that Google and the plaintiffs would agree to a two-month delay, added that &quot;two months&#39; time [was] insufficient to understand the implications of a settlement of this scope&quot;.</p><p>&quot;The scope of the proposed is unprecedented,&quot; the lawyers wrote. &quot;For authors who do not opt out, the Settlement if approved would impose a complex scheme for the wholesale allocation of rights and remedies, and compensation for the exploitation of those rights, in the digital world.&quot;</p><p>At the end of last week judge Chin rejected an attempt by the Internet Archive to intervene in the action. The Internet Archive wrote to the court last week, asking for the proposed Settlement to be amended to give other companies that have scanned printed books the same protections over orphan works that would be granted to Google under the terms of the Settlement.</p><p>&nbsp;</p>