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Justice Dept. Opens Antitrust Inquiry into Google Book Deal

Justice Dept. Open Antitrust Inquiry into Google Book Deal
Google is being hit with its first (of many?) anti-Monopoly inquiries by the Department of Justice this week, the NYTimes has learned.

The concern is over the $125 million settlement that Google came to with the Author's Guild and the Association of American Publishers. A class action suit was filed in 2005 and claims that Google's practice of scanning copyrighted books from libraries for use in its book search service was a violation of copyrights.

The October settlement gave Google the right to display the books online as well as profit from selling access to individual tax and subscriptions to its entire collection to libraries. This revenue would be shared with authors and publishers.

Judge Denny Chin of Federal District Court in New York, who is overseeing a settlement, postponed the deadline for authors by four months to opt out of the settlement and for other parties to file briefs. Authors had complained that they needed more time to review the settlement.

Google, of course, had defended the settlement saying it would bring revenue to authors and publishers. They also contend that it will give the public access to millions of out-of-print books.

Google was trying to be the iTunes of books.

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