After the Internet lit up with stories talking about how the Department of Justice has again trained its antitrust guns on Google, this time over its Books Search settlement with authors and publishers, the search giant is trying to convince the world that the deal is ardently pro-consumer.
In October, Google reached a $125 million settlement with the Authors Guild and Association of American Publishers to end a copyright infringement lawsuit dating to 2005. The groups were claiming that Google’s wholesale scanning operations of the collections of five major research libraries failed to compensate authors and publishers for their work.
Under the settlement, Google agreed to created a Book Rights Registry for authors and publishers to register and receive a share of the revenue Google will collect for subscriptions and sales.
But some groups have cried foul. They claim that the treatment of orphan works — copyrighted books whose authors cannot be found — is anticompetitive because it applies only to Google, meaning that if another firm wanted to create its own digital library it would be at a competitive disadvantage…