Objectors Outnumber Supporters in First Half of Google Settlement Fairness Hearing

Library Journal


Among the wide variety of viewpoints offered, University of California, Berkeley, law professor Pamela Samuelson reiterated her argument that academic and scholarly authors have goals that are very different than those of commercial authors, while Hadrian Katz, representing the Internet Archive, suggested that making the settlement opt-in might offer authors the most benefit.


Pamela Samuelson, law professor at the University of California, Berkeley, said that her academic colleagues would prefer to make their books available via open access, and also supported open access to orphan works. She said “the Authors Guild has not fairly represented academic authors.” Academic authors would not have brought a lawsuit based on snippets, she added. Then, in reference to the unlikely possibility that the case would continue to trial, she said, “If this case go forward, I’ll be writing briefs in support of Google, not the Authors Guild.”

“We think orphan works is a public policy issue to be decided by Congress,” she said. She mentioned that she had asked for “meaningful constraints” on pricing subscriptions. And, while not responding directly to Courant, she offered a contrasting perspective: “for plaintiffs, books are commodities. For academics, books are a slow form of social dialog.”

Finally, as a legal scholar, she said she worries very much about the precedent a settlement would set. “Not all of the world’s information is contained in books,” she concluded. “I’m wondering for some time: who’s next?”