In 2004, Google began working with large research libraries to digitize their book collections and to make the content searchable online. Not long after the project was announced, a collection of authors and publishers sued Google for copyright infringement. After almost three years of negotiations, Google and the plaintiffs announced in October 2008 that they had agreed to a proposed settlement.
While some commentators have lauded the settlement, others have vociferously claimed that it poses competitive concerns and does not promote the public interest. As an advocate for consumer interests and a former antitrust enforcer, I took great interest in this debate early on and started to study the settlement. Over the last few months, I have learned much about Google Book Search, the ensuing litigation, the settlement, and the settlement’s competitive implications. In doing so, I have come to the firm conclusion that the competition criticisms of the settlement are unfounded. The settlement is good for consumers and should be approved.
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