The Authors Guild, Inc., et al., v. Google Inc.

Notice Of Intent To Appear By Privacy Authors and Publishers


The Authors Guild and Google seek final court approval of a massive settlement first announced in 2008. While the settlement has sparked wide-ranging debate, EFF, along with our partners, have focused on a specific issue that we felt as not adequately being included as part of the debate: reader privacy.

If there is no privacy of thought — which includes implicitly the right to read what one wants, without the approval, consent or knowledge of others — then there is no privacy, period....

...The products and services envisioned by the proposed settlement will give Google not only an unprecedented ability to track our reading habits, but to do so at an unprecedented level of granularity. Because the books will be accessed on Google's servers, Google will not only know what books readers search for and access, but will also know which pages they read, how long they stayed on each page, what book they read before, and which books they access next. This is a level of reader surveillance that no library or bookstore has ever had.

Readers who feel surveilled will be chilled in their freedom of inquiry. As Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas observed in 1953, "Once the government can demand of a publisher the names of the purchasers of his publications... [f]ear of criticism goes with every person into the bookstall... [and] inquiry will be discouraged."

Please see Brief below for more information.

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Reference Info:Federal, 2nd Circuit, New York | United States

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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