November 9, 2009 / 7:56 PM / 9 years ago

Google consulting with DOJ on books deal

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Google Inc and a group representing authors and publishers said they are in talks with the U.S. government over modifications to a controversial electronic books licensing deal and they plan to file an amended version of the plan with the court on Friday.

A worker scans a book in London in this handout picture shot September 9, 2007 and released to Reuters on February 4, 2008. REUTERS/CCS/Handout

The parties have been in discussions with the Department of Justice prior to and following a hearing last month, the parties said in a letter to U.S. District Court Judge Denny Chin on Monday.

“We met with the Department as recently as this past Friday, November 6,” the letter said.

Google and the parties agreed to revise the settlement in the face of widespread criticism from competitors and regulators. The U.S. Department of Justice had indicated in a court filing that there was a significant chance the deal as written would not pass antitrust muster and could break copyright law.

The settlement is an effort to resolve a 2005 lawsuit brought by the Authors Guild and others against Google’s effort to scan libraries full of books. In that suit, authors and publishers accused Google of copyright infringement.

Google and the authors and publishers groups had been expected to file the revised settlement on Monday.

The proposed settlement, which was reached last October, would establish a registry to pay authors for works in Google’s book search.

Under the terms of the settlement, Google will pay $125 million to create a Book Rights Registry, where authors and publishers register works and are paid for books and other publications the search giant would put online.

The case is Authors Guild et al v Google Inc 05-08136 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (Manhattan)

Reporting by Alexei Oreskovic and Diane Bartz; editing by Gary Hill and Andre Grenon

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