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Judge puts off ruling on Google's proposed digital book settlement

NEW YORK -- Google confronted a barrage of criticism from opponents of its proposed digital book settlement Thursday as the Internet search giant tried to persuade a federal judge to approve a deal that would allow it to create the world's largest online library.

During a marathon hearing before U.S. District Judge Denny Chin, lawyers representing the Justice Department, children's book authors, privacy advocates and business competitors said Google's agreement with some authors and publishers should be rejected because it would violate copyright laws.

The opponents also argued that the $125 million settlement -- which would allow Google to scan and publish millions of out-of-print titles -- could give the company an unfair edge over other online publishers in the nascent but exploding market for digital books.

"In forward-looking businesses, Google wants complete immunity," said William Cavanaugh, the deputy assistant secretary for the antitrust division of the Justice Department.

After the hearing, Google issued a statement acknowledging its critics but defending the settlement. "We appreciate the concerns voiced, but we believe the settlement strikes the right balance and should not be destroyed to satisfy the particular interests of the objectors," the company said.

For the full story, click here.

By Cecilia Kang  |  February 19, 2010; 8:28 AM ET
 
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