After Amazon came out against the Google Settlement earlier this week, the Authors Guild has come back with a letter slamming the e-tailer, claiming that "Amazon's hypocrisy is breathtaking." The Guild likened Amazon's control of bookselling and the up-and-coming e-book market to a choke-hold, noting that everyone is waiting for the moment when the company will stop selling e-books at a loss and start to "squeeze publishers and authors" when everyone is locked in to the Kindle. The Guild said that, sadly, the Google plan won't infringe on Amazon's control of the business: "Amazon needn't worry, really: this agreement is about out-of-print books. Its lock on the online distribution of in-print books, unfortunately, seems secure."
Amazon's Google comments are just a few of the many to be filed this week as the settlement approaches September 4, the first key deadline in the settlement process and the date by which copyright owners who want out of the settlement must opt out or object. As expected, objectors and opt outs have been pouring in. This week attorneys for a group of some 60 authors, including literary scholar Harold Bloom, confirmed they would object to the settlement and asked to appear at the October 7 fairness hearing. In addition, the Open Book Alliance—a broad coalition of Google competitors, including Microsoft and Yahoo, as well as author organizations and library groups—announced its opposition. Library groups, meanwhile, filed a supplemental brief urging the court to look at a number of things, including privacy, and yesterday, Seven Stories Press announced it would opt out of the settlement.While the deal only applies in the U.S., a number of foreign governments registered their opposition, including Germany, which urged the court to reject the deal or at least exclude German authors, as well as Canada and New Zealand. The full roster of objectors and opt-outs as well as comments must be in by 5 p.m. "At the end of the day on September 4," New York Law School's James Grimmelmann told PW, "we'll know what the battle lines over the settlement are, and who's on which side."
Meanwhile, those filing comments or objections have been given a slight extension, to September 8th as the Court's electronic filing system will be undergoing maintenance, beginning friday afternoon. Note: the deadline extension does not affect those opting out—only to filing objections and comments.