Google Books represents the latest attempt at the centuries-old goal to build a universal library. In 2004, Google started scanning books from libraries around the world. Although it made copyright licensing agreements with some publishers, it did not obtain permission from each rightsholder before scanning, indexing, and displaying portions of books from the stacks of libraries. Unsurprisingly, authors and publishers sued for copyright violations. Google settled the class action lawsuit in a sweeping agreement that has raised suspicion from librarians, users, and the government. In this paper, I analyze the antitrust and competition issues in the original and amended settlement agreements. I find that the simultaneous aspects of agreements and pricing pose serious antitrust problems. The settlement effectively gives Google simultaneous agreements with virtually all the rightsholders to in-copyright American books. The original agreement also would have required Google to set prices for books simultaneously. In a competitive market, both agreements and pricing would occur independently. Under current law, however, no potential competitor can make agreements with the rightsholders to orphan works. The simultaneity, therefore, concentrates pricing power, leading to cartel pricing (a problem under § 1 of the Sherman Act) and monopolization (a § 2 problem).
To receive updates from STLR on upcoming publications and events, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with "subscribe" in the subject line.
- Mark Hughes on Copyright Vigilantism
- Copyright in the Digital Age Symposium « Digital Media Law Seminar SP13 on 2013 Symposium
- Stanford 2013 Technology and Law Review’s Symposium « Digital Media Law Seminar SP13 on 2013 Symposium
- Cloud Computing Contracts and geolocation « Data-Center.BlogNotions - Thoughts from Industry Experts on Negotiating Cloud Contracts
- Negotiating Cloud Contracts – Stanford Technology Law Review | IP & Related | Scoop.it on Negotiating Cloud Contracts
- Unchaining Richelieu’s Monster – Stanford Technology Law Review | IP & Related | Scoop.it on Unchaining Richelieu’s Monster
- Copyright in the Digital Age 2013 Symposium: Friday, February 22, 2013 – Stanford Technology Law Review | IP & Related | Scoop.it on 2013 Symposium