De Bibliotheca digitale, Google Book Search et Settlement/4

Nelle settimane scorse, durante il processo, Google aveva richiesto ed ottenuto per domani 7 ottobre lo slittamento dell’udienza per stabilire la correttezza dell’Accordo.
Anche se il Settlement originale è ormai morto, domani sarà una giornata importante. Le parti in carica forniranno un aggiornamento sulle loro discussioni.
Vari enti del mondo profit e non, in primis Opent Content Alliance, continuano a spingere per una risoluzione trasparente che corregga le pecche catipali del precedente accordo, che possono essere riassunte in 3 principali critiche:

1. Il settlement originale donava a Google una esclusività de facto nell’accordo con autori ed editori, non permettendo ad altri attori di sfruttare le condizioni imposte da Google. L’ “anyone can do this” di Google non è risulta quindi veritiero.

“[T]he parties have represented to the United States that they believe the Registry would lack the power and ability to license copyrighted books without the consent of the copyright owner – which consent cannot be obtained from the owners of orphan works. If the parties are correct, the Registry will lack the ability to provide competitors with licenses that will allow them to offer to the public anything like the full set of books Google can offer if the Settlement Proposal is approved.” (p. 23)

“This de facto exclusivity (at least as to orphan works) appears to create a dangerous probability that only Google would have the ability to market to libraries and other institutions a comprehensive digital-book subscription.” (p. 24)

“This risk of market foreclosure would be substantially ameliorated if the Proposed Settlement could be amended to provide some mechanism by which Google’s competitors’ could gain comparable access to orphan works (whatever such access turns out to be assuming the parties negotiate modifications to the settlement).” (p.25)

“Nor is it reasonable to think that a competitor could enter the market by copying books en masse without permission in the hope of prompting a class action suit that could then be settled on terms comparable to the Proposed Settlement. Even if there were reason to think history could repeat itself in this unlikely fashion, it would scarcely be sound policy to encourage deliberate copyright violations and additional litigation as a means of obtaining approval for licensing provisions that could not otherwise be negotiated lawfully.” (p. 23-24)

2. Il settlement originale avrebbe potuto permettere un cartello dei prezzi gestito da Google.

“In at least three respects, the collectively negotiated provisions of the Proposed Settlement appear to restrict price competition among authors and publishers: (1) the creation of an industrywide revenue-sharing formula at the wholesale level applicable to all works; (2) the setting of default prices and the effective prohibition on discounting by Google at the retail level; and (3) the control of prices for orphan books by known publishers and authors with whose books the orphan books likely compete. Although they arise in a unique context, these features of the Proposed Settlement bear an uncomfortably close resemblance to the kinds of horizontal agreements found to be quintessential per se violations of the Sherman Act.” (p. 17)

3. Data la la portata dell’accordo, e il fatto che avrebbe riguardato tutti gli autori ed editori, ed il fatto che non si è assolutamente certi che questi abbiano potuto ricevere notifica del settlement, non vi sarebbe stata equità nell’applicare i termini dell’accordo per tutti quanti gli stakeholders. Sarà necessario riproporre in maniera più pervasiva il nuovo accordo, mettendo più persone possibili in grado di accettare o meno.

“Although the United States is not in a position to opine on whether the notice provided by Google has met the strictures of Rule 23, it believes the Court should undertake a searching inquiry to ensure both that a sufficient number of class members will be reached and that the notice provided gives a complete picture of the broad scope of the Proposed Settlement. The Court should not hesitate to require the parties to undertake further efforts to notify the class.” (p.13)

(liberamente tradotto ed adattato dal blog di OCA)

UPDATE: il giudice ha spostato il tutto al 9 Novembre.

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