Google (NSDQ: GOOG) barely made its court-imposed deadline to submit its amended books settlement proposal, which the company hopes will ease friction over antitrust concerns from the U.S. Department of Justice and competitors such as Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN). The company, along with its filing partners, the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers, scaled back the countries the agreement would cover and promised new protections for potential rights-holders and authors. (Google’s statement is here; a PDF of the filing is available here).
So far, Google will have to wait to see if it can go ahead with its plan to distribute millions of books online. In terms of the next steps, the WSJ reported that despite the fixes in the amended settlement, the DOJ still wants to talk with Google about other areas not included in this latest filing. The DOJ is expected to submit responses to Google’s settlement plan by early next year.
The settlement was filed late Friday with the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York, with scant minutes to go before its midnight deadline. Google and its partners had asked for more time, but it appears the court didn’t budge on the cutoff point for the filing.
Among the items addressed in Google’s amended filing, as listed in a summary of the changes (PDF), are:
— The stipulation that distribution would be confined to books that were either on file with the U.S. Copyright Office or registered in the U.K., Australia, or Canada. In its statement, Google said it was “disappointed that we won’t be able to provide access to as many books from as many countries through the settlement as a result of our modifications.” However, in the eyes of Google Books’ doubters, the last plan didn’t go far enough to satisfy the regulatory hurdles, as detractors claimed the search giant would be able to wield too much control over the digital distribution of in-copyright, out-of-print books.
— The appointment of an independent, not-for-profit Book Rights Registry, which would act as a trustee, overseeing revenue derived from so-called