The Paper of Record today reports that the Department of Justice has opened a file on a license pact between Google and people who write and publish books. The licensing deal would settle copyright claims against Google for its Google Book Search service. Google describes the "groundbreaking agreement with authors and publishers" here.
Critics contend that the deal gives Google too much power over the online book search market.
The federal judge handling the copyright lawsuit, a class action, extended the "opt out" date for class members to September 4, 2009. That means copyright owners can choose to exclude themselves from the pending settlement by giving notice of their choice by that date.
The Paper of Record reported last month:
“Up to now, Google has been very careful to avoid predatory behavior,” said Christine A. Varney, a partner at the law firm Hogan & Hartson and a former member of the Federal Trade Commission. “But a transaction like this [a now-kaput deal with Yahoo on search ads], I think, is fundamentally anticompetitive.”
Ms. Varney since has become the head of the Antitrust Division in the DOJ. Uh-oh.