The Open Book Alliance, a coalition of librarians, legal scholars, authors, publishers, and technology companies created to counter the proposed Google Book Settlement in its current form, has issued a statement in response to the postponement of the October 7 fairness hearing:
“When the proposed Google Book Settlement came before the court, hundreds and hundreds of diverse voices raised significant objections, ranging from antitrust to copyright to privacy concerns. Clearly, Google and its partners now agree that the settlement is dead. And any hope for revival of a settlement will require fundamental reforms. This is a huge victory for all those voices seeking to serve the public interest, protect innovation and promote competition.
“We hope that Google and its partners learn the right lessons from this fiasco and start over in an open and transparent manner. They must create a robust process that includes input from all stakeholders, including authors, libraries, independent publishers, consumer advocates, state Attorneys General, the Justice Department, and Congress. This opportunity cannot turn into another negotiation behind closed doors.
“The promise of the mass digitization of books is too important to be left to another round of secret negotiations, and that promise must be realized through an open and transparent process.”
Google has yet to comment.