GBS: Filings Roundup for Friday, September 11

Todays filings were a lot quicker to sort through than yesterday’s. For one thing, many of them were yesterday’s: I counted sixteen duplicates of previous scans. For another, many more of them fit into well-trodden templates:

  • Thirty-five more German publishers, four more French publishers, two more New Zealand authors, four Swedish publishers, seven more Dutch publishers, and an Italian publisher filled objections substantively identical to ones we’ve seen before.
  • Seven German, Austrian, and Hungarian publishers filed their own objections substantively identical to one I’d seen before; I think the connection is that they’re all affiliated with Westermann
  • Ten more members of the Hachette publishing group filed their own versions of an objection made by other members of the group.

In terms of genuinely new filings, the day brought:

  • CUNY is a real hotbed of accessibility. Two more groups affiliated with CUNY filed letters supporting the settlement for its pro-access features.
  • The University of Michigan Library, another Google scanning partner, filed a letter in support, penned by Paul Courant. In addition to familiar accessibility themes, it describes preservation and curation benefits.
  • Jo Tatchell, from Rookery Nook, Hazelbury Hill, Box, Wiltshire (I love these English place names!) filed a brief letter of concern about royalty rates and the international definition of “in print.” Authors Steven Cox, Ann Douglas, Susan Gordon, Diana Kimpton, and Michael Kincaid also submitted short objection letters, but from less euphonious addresses.
  • The Lewis/Hyde motion to intervene—which has already been denied—showed up on the electronic docket.
  • The American Association of Petroleum Geologists filed a letter objection. Among other things, they’re ticked off that even as they were in the Partner Program, Google was scanning without permission their books from library shelves.
  • Avotaynu, a Jewish genealogical publisher, filed a one-page letter of objection.
  • Further Japanese objections—generally similar to ones already noted here—from authors Jiro Makino and Iwao Kidokoro and publisher Kobushi Shobo.
  • Author David Meininger, represented by counsel, filed an objection that targets some familiar themes: Registry oversight, subclasses of the plaintiff class, excessive attorney fees, and the inadequacy of the cash payments in comparison with the statutory damages available under copyright law.
  • Author Michael Perry of Inkling Books—one of the original group of authors who asked for and won the four-month delay—filed a longer, more discursive letter to the court. It has a gentle tone (it thanks the judge for “taking time out of your busy schedule to read my remarks”) but is strongly critical of the settlement.
  • A joint filing from the attorney generals of Pennsylvania, Washington, and Massachusetts raises objections to the treatment of unclaimed funds much like those raised by the AGs of Connecticut and Texas. I found this letter to be particularly clear; if you’re trying to figure out what the unclaimed-funds argument is about, start with this one.

And that brings us up to now. It’s not clear how much else is sitting in the court’s files—the uploading today stopped right on the button at 5:00, so I don’t think the end of the uploads today signifies anything other than the arrival of the weekend.

BRAVO, James Grimmelmann for keeping up with this- I see, as of Saturday 9/12 AM Public Index is still sorting and scanning, but I count at least 20 Amicus Briefs, and over 25 attorney filed Objections, many of which include multiple exhibits, declarations, etc. Given the rest, and all the pro se Objections, and letters pro and con, all in all,the is an extraordinary time capsule on the state of publishing and the book world . Missing from this body of work, seem to be any input from Russia , China ,Africa, and the Arab World. Can there be any more eloquent proof of the inadequacy of Google’s Notice and the cultural, ethnocentric arrogance embedded in this process?

Hopefully, soon, Public Index or someone will tell us : How many works/authors/publishers are represented by the Objections? What nations have appeared and on what sides? How many lawyers have asked to appear and argue Oct.7th? The numbers of opt outs , still known only to the parties and to the Settlement Administrators, Rust Consulting?

Really appreciate all this work, James.

IANAL- and, further, I understand little of the class action settlement process.

Can you say a little about the relative role/status of the different categories of filings and Responses - Objection Letters, Objections proper, and Amicus Briefs (some pro- some con- )?

I really like the categories you use here -

..but I am just trying to learn enough to be clearer in my understanding of what the differences are, and what difference they make.


Thank you for thinking my letter was “charmingly written” (I thought it was sort of hokey and poorly written but then I tend to be my own worst critic), I tried to get a simple point across. The Google Author Settlement does put the Fox (Google) in charge of the Hen House. Google knows it has engaged in massive copyright infringement, and yes, that is wrong.

I debated how I would address the court. It is not proper to both Opt Out and Object (unless of course you are Japanese, and then you go ahead and do it anyway), still I knew I had to something, as opposed to nothing.

I just found your website today, and applaud your coverage of the Google Author Settlement. I have been using this link to follow the docket.

I too look forward to the numbers — how many opt outs, how many objectors, how many supporters — it looks like the judge is not allowing any “interveners” and summarily rejecting them with a boilerplate order. I don’t think some of these “interveners” considered themselves as such, but in the complexity of this settlement the judge has to do what judges do, and decide who is in and who is out.

As an Opt Out, I am comfortable with my decision. Whether the Settlement is approved or not, Google will have to deal with us. We are not going away without a fight.

Dave: I try to run through the essential terms here.