Any user must have the ability to request this Court to direct Google
and the Registry to disclose their policies for collecting, retaining,
disseminating, and protecting personally identifiable information.
Additionally, any user must have the ability to request this Court to
review whether Google and the Registry are complying with their
privacy policies.
In these comments, the Library Associations have identified certain
foreseeable problems that may require this Court’s intervention in the future.
The Settlement, however, is potentially so far-reaching that its full implications
are unknowable at this time. While the Settlement’s impact might be limited to
the creation of a research tool of use only to serious scholars, the Settlement
might also lead to a restructuring of the publishing industry and a dramatic
change to the nature of libraries. The Court should be prepared to exercise
whatever oversight is necessary, for as long as necessary, to maximize the
public benefit from the services enabled by the Settlement.
Settlement Agreement at § 4.1(a)(i). The proposed Book Rights Registry is similar to two
organizations that collectively manage performance rights: the American Society of Composers,
Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) and Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI). Both ASCAP and BMI are
subject to consent decrees resolving antitrust actions brought by the U.S. Department of Justice.
The ASCAP consent decree has existed, with modifications, since 1941; and the BMI consent decree
since 1966. Under the consent decrees, ASCAP and BMI must grant, on a non-discriminatory basis,
either a blanket license to their entire catalogue, or a license for the performance of a particular
work. A court in this district has continuing jurisdiction over the consent decrees, and has
established a rate court to resolve disputes concerning license fees. In proceedings before the rate
court, ASCAP and BMI have the burden of proving the reasonableness of the rates they seek.
Establishment of a rate court in this case is premature. However, this Court has the authority to
adopt the procedures necessary to ensure the fairness of the price of the institutional subscription.
Settlement Agreement at § 3.7(e)(i). The Settlement requires Google and the Registry to compile a
variety of databases. See, e.g., id. at §§ 3.1(b)(ii), 6.6(c). These database will have many uses,
including assisting in finding the owners of orphan works. Accordingly, Google and the Registry
should make these databases publicly available.
To cite this article: “The Case for Regulating Google and the Proposed Book
Rights Registry.” Research Library Issues: A Bimonthly Report from ARL, CNI, and
SPARC, no. 264 (June 2009): 3–6.
RLI 264 6
The Case for Regulating Google and the Proposed Book Rights Registry
ARL and ALA have also released “A Guide for the Perplexed: Libraries and the Google Library Project Settlement,” by
Jonathan Band, JD. The guide is designed to help the library community better understand the terms and conditions
of the proposed settlement agreement by outlining the settlement provisions that apply directly to libraries. The
guide, along with the full text of the brief, and related materials are available from the ARL Web site at
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