Google: UK publishers named as plaintiffs

<p>Rightsholders from the UK, Australia and Canada have been named as plaintiffs in the revised Google Settlement that was finally placed with the US Court late on Friday (13th November), after a four-day delay. But other foreign works have now been excluded.</p><p>A statement about the agreement said that the &quot;plaintiffs decided to narrow the class to include only these countries, which share a common legal heritage and similar book industry practices&quot;. A number of European governments, trade bodies and publishers had objected to the original deal. British, Australian, and Canadian rightsholders will now be named as plaintiffs and will also be represented on the board of the Book Rights Registry, as had been previously agreed.</p><p>The settlement also makes it clear that books which are for sale as new internationally are considered commercially available, meaning Google will not display any of their content by default.</p><p>Dan Clancy, Google Books engineering director, wrote on the Google Public Policy blog: &quot;The changes we&#39;ve made in our amended agreement address many of the concerns we&#39;ve heard (particularly in limiting its international scope), while at the same time preserving the core benefits of the original agreement: opening access to millions of books while providing rightsholders with ways to sell and control their work online.&quot;</p><p>He added: &quot;We&#39;re disappointed that we won&#39;t be able to provide access to as many books from as many countries through the settlement as a result of our modifications, but we look forward to continuing to work with rightsholders from around the world to fulfill our longstanding mission of increasing access to all the world&#39;s books.&quot; Google said it remained interested in working directly with international rightsholders, including those in countries excluded from the settlement, to reach similar agreements to make works available worldwide.</p><p>Under the revised settlement Google has said that the algorithm used to establish consumer purchase prices will simulate the prices in a competitive market, and prices for books will be established independently of each other. The revised agreement has given the BRR the right to license unclaimed works to other parties without ever extending the same terms to Google. It also states that any book retailer will be able to sell consumers online access to the out-of-print books covered by the settlement, including unclaimed books.</p><p>But it also sets up an independent body, which will be responsible for the interests of the missing rightsholders of orphan works. Unclaimed proceeds from orphan works will be used to try to locate absent rightsholders and be held for at least 10 years before being distributed to &quot;literacy-based charities in the United States, Canada, the UK and Australia&quot;.</p><p>The Court will now set a timeline, which will likely include a notice period, an objection period, and a Final Fairness hearing in early 2010.&nbsp; <br />&nbsp;&nbsp; </p>