More time needed for revised Google Books deal

After a meeting late last week with the Justice Department, the parties realize they need more time. Monday was to be the deadline for a revised settlement.

Google and groups representing authors and publishers have asked for more time to revise their controversial settlement over the rights to scan digital books.

Judge Denny Chin approved the request to extend the deadline to Friday, which was submitted ahead of a Monday night deadline for the parties to submit a revised settlement after the U.S. Department of Justice objected to the settlement as previously worded. After it was sued in 2005 by The Author's Guild and other groups representing the publishing industry over its decision to scan certain types of books without explicit permission, Google reached a settlement a year ago that would grant it unique rights to scan books that have gone out of print but are still protected by copyright laws.

However, that settlement has been met with objections from authors and privacy advocates almost since it was filed, and Google has faced a long and difficult road in getting it approved. Monday's delay comes after a Friday meeting with the Justice Department, according to a copy of the request filed with the U.S. Federal Court for the Southern District of New York.

Google refused to comment on the subject of that meeting, but it's not too hard to imagine that the Justice Department was not ready to give the new draft its blessing. It had previously objected to provisions of the deal that it felt "serious in isolation, and, taken together, raise cause for concern." However, in recent weeks Google has sought to downplay the proposed changes as "targeted and surgical."

The patient apparently needs more time.

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