Google Settlement Dealt Fatal Blow?

U.S. Register of Copyrights Marybeth Peters torched the Google Book Search Settlement in testimony before the House Judiciary subcommittee on September 10, reports Publishers Weekly:

In a blistering assessment of the deal, Peters told lawmakers that the settlement is in essence a compulsory license that would give Google the ability to engage in activities, such as text display and sale of downloads, that are “indisputable acts of copyright infringement.” 

Most damaging, however, was Peters’s insistence that only Congress-not the courts-could enact such licenses, and her repeated assessments that the settlement deprived Congress of its role. “By permitting Google to engage in a wide array of new uses of most books in existence the settlement would alter the landscape of copyright law,” Peters said. “That is the role of Congress, not the courts.” She said that by allowing out-of-print works to be swept into the settlement, the deal “makes a mockery of Article I of the Constitution.” Only Congress, she stressed, after a full public debate, can set such new rules.

And so Francis Hamit declares: “Marybeth Peters just killed the Google settlement. You know, I always liked her.”