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U.S. Presses Antitrust Inquiry Into Google Book Settlement

In a sign that the government has stepped up its antitrust investigation of a class-action settlement between Google and groups representing authors and publishers, the Justice Department has issued formal requests for information to several of the partie
In a sign that the government has stepped up its antitrust investigation of a class-action settlement between Google and groups representing authors and publishers, the Justice Department has issued formal requests for information to several of the parties involved. The Justice Department has sent the requests, called civil investigative demands, to various parties, including Google, the Association of American Publishers, the Authors Guild and individual publishers, said Michael J. Boni, a partner at Boni & Zack, who represented the Authors Guild in negotiations with Google. “They are asking for a lot of information,” Mr. Boni said. “It signals that they are serious about the antitrust implications of the settlement.” The Justice Department began its inquiry into the sweeping $125 million settlement this year after various parties complained that it would give Google exclusive rights to profit from millions of orphan books. Orphans are books still protected by copyrights, but that are out of print and whose authors or rights holders are unknown or cannot be found.
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