Awhile back, Blawgletter inquired if Google would, in asking for a federal court okay to a copyright pact in a massive class action, reveal itself at long last as not the Don't Be Evil people but instead as the Big Bad Wolf. See "Who's Afraid of Google Books? Tra La La La La".
Today, Judge Denny Chin — late of the S.D.N.Y. and now of the Second Circuit — cried canis lupus. He said no to the deal, which would have given Google Books a release of any claims that, by making and showing copies of "orphan" works, it infringed the True Owners' copyright rights. He doubted the class action device could moot the worries about killing the claims of the True Owners, a great many of whom we suspect and pray rest in peace. But he also felt that letting Google Books use the gain it ill-got would give it a too-strong spot in the market for book searches. The antitrust angle, you see. See, e.g., Claire Cain Miller, "Book Ruling Cuts Options for Google", The New York Times, Mar. 23, 2011.
Don't expect us to cast doubt on His Honor's ruling. We think he got it right. Letting Google, and no one else, exploit the orphan works would indeed extend its already huge clout. Don't Be Evil, guys.