Us Justice Investigators Probe Google Book Deal

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The U.S. Justice Department is believed to be investigating recent deals that online search engine Google has done with book publishers.

The U.S. Justice Department is believed to be investigating recent deals that online search engine Google has done with book publishers.

 According to the Wall Street Journal the Justice Departments antitrust division has sent certain publishers formal requests for information about a settlement with Google that cleared the way for the search giant to make books available for free online.

David Young, chief executive officer of Lagardere SCA’s Hachette Book Group, confirmed that the company has received a civil investigative demand, or CID, from the Justice Department regarding the proposed Google settlement, but he declined further comment.

The Justice Department has been looking at the settlement, which Google struck with authors and publishers last year, for weeks, amid complaints by some authors and Google competitors that the pact would harm competition.

Google reached the deal, which ends a years’ old copyright suit related to its book-scanning effort, late last year, agreeing to pay $125 million payment to resolve claims, cover legal fees and establish a registry to enable rights holders — be they publishers or authors — to register their works and get paid when their titles are used online. The inquiry is said to focus on whether that settlement would limit other companies’ access to the digital books market.

For more see www.wsj.com

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