Why the Google Book Search Settlement Should Be Approved: A Response to Antitrust Concerns and Suggestions for Regulation
48 Pages Posted: 10 Jun 2010 Last revised: 9 May 2013
Date Written: June 9, 2010
This Article advocates the approval of the pending Google Book Search settlement by responding to the antitrust concerns arising from the Amended Settlement Agreement. It contributes to commentary on the settlement by pointing out that the proper antitrust analysis must take into account Google’s role as a two-sided platform, which serves two interdependent sets of customers. The settlement, if approved, will not grant exclusive orphan book access to Google or anticompetitive pricing power to the Rightsholders. Post-settlement regulatory alternatives are explored, and the compulsory licensing of orphan books is rejected. Instead, this Article advocates the explicit grant of licensing power to the Unclaimed Works Fiduciary and the Registry if the settlement’s legal ability to do that is in dispute. Given GBS’s natural monopoly characteristics, another regulatory option is the imposition of a consent decree similar to those under which ASCAP and BMI operate.
Keywords: Google Book Search, Antitrust, Intellectual Property, Copyright, Two-sided Platform, Natural Monopoly
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