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More Time to Comment on Google Books Deal

Opponents of Google's controversial settlement with publishers and authors for its digital books project got a few more days to fine tune their arguments against the deal, which is being challenged in federal court, the Associated Press reported.

Comments on the settlement had been due Friday in the U.S. District Court of Southern New York, which is reviewing the matter and has scheduled a hearing on the dispute for October 7. But U.S. District Judge Denny Chin on Thursday extended the deadline to 10 a.m. EDT Tuesday for those who wish to file papers protesting or supporting the landmark agreement. Under the project, Google plans to scan vast amounts of books to make them available on the Internet, an effort that would make the company the online keeper of millions of copyrighted works.

Major Google competitors Microsoft and Yahoo joined forces with online books giant Amazon to oppose the deal. The alliance, called the Open Book Alliance and led by Silicon Valley antirust lawyer Gary Reback, have argued that the settlement struck between Google and book publishers and authors 10 months ago could empower Google with dominant control over digital book titles that could lead to higher prices for consumers who read books through digital devices and computers.

Amazon filed its comments to the court Thursday.

Consumer privacy advocates have also raised concerns that the settlement could allow Google to collect data on users for advertising.

The Federal Trade Commission in a letter last Thursday evening demanded that the company outline specific plans for how it would deal with privacy concerns related to its book project. Google responded in a blog with further details on its privacy policy. Among them, it said third parties would not have access to specific user data. Users also wouldn't have to log on or create a Google account to view free pages of books provided by the service.

By Cecilia Kang  |  September 4, 2009; 9:00 AM ET  | Category:  Cecilia Kang
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I have found google books search to be an invaluable research aid. I even found a comment from my great-great-great-grandfather published in a book from the 19th century. I share many others' concerns about google monopolizing access to these books, though. Promises to not be evil are nice, but something more substantial specifically guaranteeing access for scholars is needed.

Posted by: lostinthemiddle | September 4, 2009 2:36 PM

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