By Edward Nawotka
On Friday, the Department of Justice (DoJ) filed a brief recommending that the Google Book Settlement should be rejected by the court as it does not meet copyright and anti-trust laws. “Department officials urged the settlement parties to head back to the table,” reports Publishers Weekly.
“‘A properly structured settlement agreement in this case offers the potential for important societal benefits,’ reads the DoJ statement. ‘The United States does not want the opportunity or momentum to be lost.'”
Meanwhile, Publishers Lunch notes that the DoJ also said the settlement “has the potential to breathe life into millions of works that are now effectively off limits to the public,” and made some recommendations — that are not likely to be followed — “like turning the opt-out for out-of-print rights holders into opt-in only, or limiting Google’s use of unclaimed works to snippets only.”
The Wall Street Journal says today that Google, the AAP and the Authors Guild are considering changes to the settlement.
Hachette is taking a gamble with the new Iain M. Banks novel Transition by releasing a free, albeit abridged, audiobook version on iTunes starting Tuesday, according to the New York Times. “The abridgment will be divided into 23 episodes, uploaded Tuesdays and Fridays for 12 weeks. ‘This is a free podcast of the abridged edition of Transition, with a total run time of six and a half hours,’ listeners will hear at the beginning of each episode. ‘Get more Banks for your buck with the full 13-hour unabridged edition, and don’t miss a word.'” The unabridged audiobook version goes for $19.95, while the hardcover is $25.99.
The move is a calculated gamble — Banks, while incredibly popular in the UK, has only enjoyed modest sales in the US, in either of his incarnations (Iain, used for his science fiction novels; or Ian, the spelling which he uses for his more conventional books).