Another DOJ Antitrust Investigation for Google, This Time for Book Search Settlement

Months after Google pulled out of a search ad deal with Yahoo! due to a Department of Justice antitrust investigation, the search engine is facing a similar battle – this time with its Book Search settlement.

You may remember that Google reached an agreement with Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers (AAP) last October. The deal would resolve a long-standing class-action lawsuit brought by the group. A court still needs to approve the deal, and a hearing is scheduled for October 7, 2009 (rescheduled from June 11).

Critics fear that the agreement would give Google an exclusive license to profit from millions of books, including orphan books where the authors cannot be contacted or whose rights are unknown.

However, on Google’s site set up to address questions and inquiries regarding the settlement (Googlebooksettlement.com), Google says its rights are non-exclusive.

An inquiry doesn’t mean that the DOJ will nix the settlement. But the DOJ does share some of the aforementioned concerns of critics, despite Google’s assurance that the deal is non-exclusive.

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