Lawyer and Author Adds His Objections to Settling the Google Book Lawsuit

Lawyer and Author Adds His Objections to Settling the Google Book Lawsuit

Alternative title:

“Whenever I hear capitalism proclaiming noble motives something makes me check my wallet.”
Christopher Buckley

In the latest objection, Scott E. Gant, an author and partner at Boies Schiller & Flexner, a prominent Washington law firm, plans to file a sweeping opposition to the settlement on Wednesday urging the court to reject it.

“This is a predominantly commercial transaction and one that should be undertaken through the normal commercial process, which is negotiation and informed consent,” Mr. Gant said in an interview. Google and its partners are “trying to ram this through so that millions of copyright holders will have no idea that this is happening.”

Unlike most previous objections to the project, which focused on policy issues and recommended modifications to the settlement, Mr. Gant argues that the agreement, which gives Google commercial rights to millions of books without having to negotiate for them individually, amounts to an abuse of the class-action process. He also contends that it does not sufficiently compensate authors and does not adequately notify and represent all the authors affected.

Legal experts, who had not seen the filing but heard a description of it, said it could be the most direct attack on the agreement so far.

“It may be the most fundamental challenge to the settlement yet,” said James Grimmelmann, an associate professor at the Institute for Information Law and Policy at New York Law School, a critic of the agreement whose blog tracks filings and commentary related to it.

The court has set a Sept. 4 deadline for briefs on the settlement and has scheduled a hearing for early October.

Objections to the settlement have been raised by groups including the National Writers Union, the American Society of Journalists and Authors, representatives of the faculty of the University of California and the literary arm of the William Morris Endeavor entertainment agency.

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