Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Google books settlement an abuse of the class action process?

Pamela Samuelson has a great article on the Google book settlement in The Nation.
"The GBS agreement is, however, less a settlement of a class action lawsuit than a
forward-looking commercial joint venture that far exceeds in scope the scanning-to-index
issue being litigation. Class action settlements typically resolve only the specific dispute
between the parties. The more forward-looking the settlement, the broader its scope, the
broader the class, and the more the deal tries to release the defendant from liability for
future conduct, especially conduct different in kind from the litigated issue, the less likely
it is that judges will approve it. The GBS deal is troublesome on all four grounds.
Moreover, serious questions exist about whether the authors and publishers who
negotiated the settlement adequately and fairly represented the interests of the class as a
Update: See also Prof. Samuelson's thoughts on the politics of the negotiations involving France and Germany.

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