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Google Books settlement could violate international law

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The proposed Google Books settlement could violate international laws and treaties, argues new analysis from the Open Book Alliance (OBA).

In the analysis, Cynthia Arato, partner at the law firm of Macht, Shapiro, Arato and Isseries and a prominent litigator on intellectual property and copyright issues, said that, 'If the settlement is approved, it may give rise to legal action against the USA before an international tribunal and will certainly expose the USA to diplomatic stress.'

Arato found that: 'The settlement would (1) grant Google automatic rights to exploit digitally millions of books without requiring Google to obtain any authorisation from any foreign copyright owner or author; and (2) require these foreign rights holders to jump through burdensome hoops simply to exercise a watered-down contractual right – that the settlement creates – to halt such use.'

The OBA study evaluates the proposed class action settlement between Google, the Association of American Publishers and the Author’s Guild to determine the claims and remedies that other nations may seek through the World Trade Organization (WTO) for the violations that an approved Google Books Settlement would incur. The governments of France and Germany have already formally objected to the proposed settlemen, according to OBA.