This column is by guest blogger David Bolt, a driving force behind CWAG (Canadian Writers Against Google Settlement) and instrumental in filing CWAG’s Objection Brief with Judge Chin’s Fairness Hearing.
Notes on acronyms: TWUC = The Writers’ Union of Canada. The amended settlement’s acronym is ASA (Amended Settlement Agreement.) For simplicity we will refer to all versions as the Google Book Settlement (GBS).
WHAT TWUC SAID versus WHAT THE COURT DECIDED
I took a quick look at Judge Denny Chin’s judgment, alongside TWUC’s objections, and found that TWUC did not have much to do with his decision. Our brief, on the other hand, did. Here are the three documents:
So, let us remind ourselves of TWUC’s official views of the Google Book Settlement, compared with what Judge Chin thought of it.
Chin was first and foremost concerned that the GBS would create a virtual online publishing monopoly that would exclude competition. He cited the anti-trust objections of the Department of Justice. At the very least, he pointed out that the settlement “would give Google a significant advantage over competitors, rewarding it for engaging in wholesale copying of copyrighted works without permission.” TWUC was silent on this.
Chin concluded that the settlement “is an attempt to use the class action mechanism to implement forward-looking business arrangements that go far beyond the dispute before the Court in this litigation.” TWUC, however, wrote: ““We do object to certain aspects of the settlement, and request that it be modified to address these issues”. In other words, TWUC never questioned the fundamental legitimacy of the settlement.