Here are some of my picks for the most interesting filings to come in yesterday. This list is far from complete, but these are the ones that I felt most had something new and interesting to say or were most fun to read:
- Amazon’s brief is really hard-hitting. Agree or disagree with its substantive points, you have to admit that this is a superbly executed piece of technical legal advocacy. The highlight is a close discussion of the Reseller program in the amended settlement: unsurprisingly, Amazon thinks that it makes the settlement worse, not better.
- The Open Book Alliance supplemental brief is more informal and more cutthroat. It works the crowd—this is a legal document also intended to be read by non-lawyers. Also, watch the brief’s tone: it’s a very carefully modulated combination of anger, contempt, sadness, pity, and soothing rationality. The argument that Google is trying to leverage the settlement into control of the search market is worth a close read.
- The non-Anglophone coalition in opposition is smaller than it used to be, but still against the settlement. The new battlefront is not just objecting to being included at all, but also attacking the difficulty of determining whether a book falls within the settlement at all. Many foreign publishers, apparently, haven’t been keeping records of their United States copyright registrations, not since the U.S. accession to Berne eliminated the registration threshold for foreign copyright owners. I thought the best brief on these issues was the one filed for an international group with lead objector Carl Hanser Verlag.
- The Arlo Guthrie objection goes over some familiar turf, but it also has a nice section on the difficulty of using the Google-supplied books database.
- The best discussion about the meaning of “fiduciary” obligations and whether the UWF will meet them comes from the state of Connecticut.
- The most interesting new objector was AT&T. The brief itself, although polished and detailed, has a sort of me-too quality: rephrasing arguments that will be familiar to close watchers of the settlement. It’s more of a confirmation of AT&T’s intense hatred of Google: whatever Google wants, we should try to stop. The proffered reason that AT&T will be harmed by the settlement: it competes with Google in online advertising and in local and mobile search.
- The second-most interesting new objector was a group of Indian publishers.
- The newly launched Fordham IP clinic, led by its newly commissioned director, Ron Lazebnik, filed a brief on behalf of the SFWA, ASJA, and NWU. It has the most detailed discussion of the Author-Publisher Procedures and the mandatory arbitration provisions of the settlement in any filing to date.
- The best of the pro se letters to the court so far is the one from U.K. author Diana Kimpton.
We’re still in the process of uploading filings to the Public Index — I’ll write a follow-up post later on.