On December 14, 2009, the Settlement Administrator for the Google Book Project distributed a Supplemental Notice of the revised settlement. (More information about developments in the Authors’ Guild v Google lawsuit can be found in prior posts.) The Notice identifies the following changes to the various deadlines to proceed:
On or before January 28, 2010:
* Deadline to Opt Out of the settlement agreement, by completing and submitting the Opt Out Form (if a claimant already opted out of the prior version of the settlement agreement, it is not necessary to file another Opt Out Form).
* Deadline to Opt Back In to the settlement agreement, if an Opt Out Form was previously submitted.
* File an Objection to the Amended Settlement. If a claimant previously filed an objection to the prior settlement agreement, it will be maintained – without having to file it again. This deadline is for new objections only. (Parties can withdraw prior objections up until the date of the Fairness Hearing, if necessary.)
On or before February 4, 2010:
* File a notice of intent to appear at the Final Fairness Hearing.
February 18, 2010:
* The scheduled date for the Final Settlement/Fairness Hearing.
(The dates above were also set forth in the Court’s November 19, 2009 Order granting preliminary approval to the amended settlement agreement.)
On or before March 31, 2011:
* Deadline for any claimant who wishes to receive cash payments for “Books and Inserts” (as those terms are defined by the settlement agreement) to submit their claim forms. If a claimant is unable to submit a claim online, paper forms are available.
More details about the administration of the settlement agreement can be found on the Administrator’s Site, and potential claimants should review all of the details provided directly by the Administrator, in case specific forms or requirements change over the course of the administration period.
The Congressional Research Service released a report on November 27, 2009, analyzing Google’s argument that it did not infringe the copyrights at issue because its use (in digitizing, indexing and re-publishing to some extent the underlying works) qualified for the “fair use” defense to act as a complete bar to liability. The report, “The Google Library Project: Is Digitization for Purposes of Online Indexing Fair Use Under Copyright Law,” was prepared by Kate M. Manuel, Esquire, a legislative attorney with CRS, and is available through various subscription-only sites. If you have a subscription to BNA’s Patent, Trademark & Copyright Journal, you can find a copy of the Report as a reference at the end of the article entitled “Google Books Settlement Could Be Back Before Court, Foreign Litigation a Possibility,” 79 PTCJ 154 (Dec. 11, 2009).