A federal judge has rejected the 2008 settlement reached between Google Inc., authors and publishers that would allow the Internet search company to make millions of books available online, according to reports from several major news outlets this afternoon, including the Wall Street Journal. WSJ.com reports that Denny Chin, a judge on the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan, said that allowing Google to sell these books would give it "the ability to 'exploit' books without the permission of the copyright owners." The settlement was denied "without prejudice," which means that Google could submit a revision to the settlement to better meet the criteria of the court.
In a 48-page decision, Judge Chin said that the settlement would give Google "a significant advantage over competitors." He also suggested that rather than allowing copyright owners of books to "opt out" of the settlement—a term reached in 2008 between Google, the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers—they should instead be given the choice to "opt in."
According to WSJ.com, Google managing counsel Hillary Ware said in a statement that the company would consider its options. "Like many others, we believe this agreement has the potential to open up access to millions of books that are currently hard to find in the U.S. today," she said.