The Google Book Search Settlement: A Law and Economics Analysis
Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition
Ruhr University Bochum
April 5, 2011
Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 8, No. 1, pp. 7-50, 2011
Max Planck Institute for Intellectual Property & Competition Law Research Paper No. 11-06
Beginning in December 2004 Google has pursued a new project to create a book search engine (Google Book Search). The project has released a storm of controversy around the globe. While the supporters of Google Book Search conceive the project as a first reasonable step towards unlimited access to knowledge in the information age, its opponents fear profound negative effects due to an erosion of copyright law.
Our law and economics analysis of the Book Search Project suggests that – from a copyright perspective – the proposed settlement may be beneficial to right holders, consumers, and Google. For instance, it may provide a solution to the still unsolved dilemma of orphan works. From a competition policy perspective, we stress the important aspect that Google’s pricing algorithm for orphan and unclaimed works effectively replicates a competitive Nash-Bertrand market outcome under post-settlement, third-party oversight.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 44
Keywords: Book Rights Registry, Competition Policy, Copyright, Fair Use, Google Book Search, Library Program, Orphan Works
Date posted: May 1, 2011 ; Last revised: October 29, 2012
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