Google Book Project Tries to Placate the Critics: Will It Be Enough?
* European and French copyright law require that each author's consent must be obtained in order to digitally reproduce, display and distribute. The proposed settlement violates that law by giving unfettered copying power to Google;
* The Berne Convention, to which both France and the US are party, prohibits any registration formality as a precondition for enjoying or enforcing a copyright interest. The settlement illegally re-imposes such formalities by requiring that authors register their works in order to enjoy any of the benefits of the proposed Settlement.
More philosophically, the French brief stated:
… By anointing Google with the power to rank books, choose algorithms for deciding what books are displayed in response to a research inquiry and to even decide what books may or may not be included in the publicly available database, the proposed Settlement homogenizes … and demeans those special elements that distinguish the unique cultural traditions of France by turning books into a merely industrial byproduct of a computer database. Furthermore, the proposed Settlement's protective provisions virtually assure Google the revenue flow necessary to preserve its concentration of power long into the future.
Robert Kunstadt, an author and an attorney, filed a brief in which he said:
Google will argue that class representatives and attorneys approve [the] settlement. But these self-appointed "guardians" are worse than no guardians at all. If the class-attorneys cannot obtain injunctive relief against unauthorized use of copyrighted works on an unprecedented scale, they are incompetent and deserve no fee. …
... The author should not be forced to comply with a proposed settlement's non-statutory formalities to protect the author's rights. The author need only comply with U.S. copyright law. Neither the parties nor the Court have the power to amend U.S. copyright law, creating an alternative regime by an ad hoc settlement.