Google’s controversial plan to create a digital library has been dealt another blow by the Justice Department, which has criticized the plans for having “significant legal problems” despite recent rewrites. “The Justice Department on Thursday said that a class-action settlement between the company and groups representing authors and publishers had significant legal problems, even after recent revisions. In a 31-page filing that could influence a federal judge’s ruling on the settlement, the department said the new agreement was much improved from an earlier version. But it said the changes were not enough to placate concerns that the deal would grant Google a monopoly over millions of orphan works, meaning books whose right holders are unknown or cannot be found. The department also indicated that the revised agreement, like its predecessor, appeared to run afoul of authors’ copyrights and was too broad in scope. The revised agreement ‘suffers from the same core problem as the original agreement: it 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’ the department wrote.”
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