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Justice Department: ‘Substantial Issues Remain’ With Google Books Settlement

The Justice Department has not been won over by the revisions made to the Google (NSDQ: GOOG) Books settlement. In a filing today, the Justice Department says that “despite the commendable efforts of the parties to improve upon the initial proposed settlement, many of the problems previously identified with respect to the original settlement remain.”

Google, along with the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers, revised the settlement this fall in response to objections from the Justice Department and competitors, who claimed that the settlement gave Google too much control over the electronic distribution of in-copyright, out-of-print books. Specifically, they scaled back the countries the agreement covered and promised new protections for potential rights-holders and authors.

But in its filing, the Justice Department says the changes do not go far enough — and that the judge should encourage the parties to continue their settlement discussions:

Under the (agreement) as proposed, Google would remain the only competitor in the digital marketplace with the rights to distribute and otherwise exploit a vast array of works in multiple formats. Google also would have the exclusive ability to exploit unclaimed works (including so-called