This submission is primarily concerned with privacy online, consumer rights, international developments and diversity of provision. With regard to user privacy, the Settlement is light on safeguards so the Commission is advised to intervene promptly to ensure the protection of fundamental rights and enforcement of EU law. In terms of digital rights management, we call for the Commission to raise the basic ‘floor’ of consumer rights to ensure users are not unduly restricted in performing lawfully permitted activities. In respect of international development and access to knowledge, the Commission should seek to ensure that the service is made available to institutions outside of the US, particularly in developing states, and at appropriately discounted subscription rates. We also recommend that the Commission encourage competition between Google and others in providing digital books, and considers solutions such as compulsory licences.
The European Commission will hold a hearing next month on the European response to the proposed settlement in the (US) Google Book Search case. Some very provocative questions have been set out. The summary above, and the full document at this link (PDF) is the response of the UK-based Open Rights Group to the Commission’s call for comments. (Disclosure: I am an ORG supporter, and I contributed to the writing of this document).
For all the information you could ever need on the settlement, see the Public Index, a project led by James Grimmelmann at New York Law School (who has also summarised and responded to the ORG document at his blog)