Amazon Lashes Out at Google Book Settlement

September 4th, 2009 at 12:00 am

Amazon Logo

There seems to be someone else that may be against the proposed settlement that Google will be making with authors and publishers concerning scanning out of print books that are still under copyright protection. Amazon, today’s biggest online book retailer, seems to be saying that, if ever the proposed settlement comes through, it would be quite unfair for authors and publishers in the long run.

Amazon has even filed its own brief with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York arguing against the proposed class action settlement between Google and the Author’s Guild. Amazon believes that what Google did was a controversial step in terms of obtaining the rights for scanning out of print books still under copyright protection through a class action settlement.

The proposed class action settlement has Google paying around $125 million to authors and publishers as just a part of the settlement agreement of the suit that the Author’s Guild filed against the Google Book Search initiative along with a separate suit filed by the Association of American Publishers. Part of the settlement includes Google being responsible for selling access to the digitized copyrighted works with the majority of the revenues going to the authors and publishers.

Google set out to scan and digitize books that were out of print but still under copyright protection. Authors and publishers consider this as copyright infringement that led to Google to the settlement proposal that Amazon is trying to contest in a way. Their complaint may be a way of trying to protect its own future in the business of books.

Amazon is currently the considered giant when it comes to selling regular books online. It has recently only gone to the business of e-books with the release of the Kindle book reader. Currently, the e-book market is still in its infancy with no ascertained leader yet. Amazon may think that Google’s entry into e-books may undermine their own business in the future. Considering that Google’s initiative was primarily to provide access to out of print books in digitized form for free online, it would certainly have some considerable effect on Amazon’s own e-book business, as well as the sales of its Kindle reader. There seems to be business issues behind the complaint. Or maybe, Amazon is genuinely looking after the rights of book authors and publishers. Which of them you think is more convincing as the main reason is entirely up to you.