- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Google, the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers have asked the U.S. District Court in New York to extend a deadline for settling a dispute over plans for the world’s biggest online library.

The parties asked in a letter submitted to Judge Denny Chin on Monday to be able to file a revised settlement “no later than this Friday, November 13th.” The delay was approved.

Google and the publishers suing the company had been working against a Monday deadline to come up with a settlement. They have to address the Justice Department’s antitrust objections to a previous agreement.

The case involves Google’s plans to scan millions of books and make them searchable and available for purchase online.

A proposed $125 million settlement would have given Google digital rights to those works. But the government told a federal judge in New York that the agreement threatens to give Google the power to increase book prices and discourage competition.

The initial agreement was the result of a lawsuit brought by authors and publishers in 2005 on Google’s effort to scan millions of library books. In October 2008, a proposed agreement settled that Google would pay $125 million for copyright infringements, and would be allowed to scan the “orphan works,” which are out-of-copyright and out-of-print books.

Consumers rights organizations and other interest groups have strongly opposed the Google Books agreement, on grounds that it would give the company too much control over access to the books.

The Justice Department submitted a filing on Sept. 18, urging the court to reject the agreement, arguing that it would violate copyright and antitrust laws. Companies such as Amazon and Microsoft oppose the deal, as do the French and German governments.

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