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  • Why the Google Book Search Settlement Should Be Approved: A Response to Antitrust Concerns and Suggestions for Regulation

    Imagine the corpus of all human knowledge available in print form housed in an online bookstore, not at all constrained by shelf space limitation, damage, or physical deterioration of the books over time. Without ever having to leave the comfort of his or her own home, a user can perform a keyword search within the texts of all the books in this massive digital database. The search results are almost instantaneous. Those results in the public domain or out of copyright can be viewed in full and downloaded as PDF files for free. For works still under copyright, the results will limit the number of viewable pages and display only snippets of text that respective Rightsholders are willing to disclose to the viewer. The user then has the option of purchasing an electronic copy of a book directly from the online bookstore, or clicking on links to other suppliers such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble. This is exactly what the Google Book Search (GBS) service aspires to be and will be if, following the recent fairness hearing on February 18th, 2010, Judge Denny Chin of the Southern District Court of New York approves the class action settlement between Google and the Authors Guild and Association of American Publishers.