11.09.09 Catherine Neilan in the Bookseller
In what Google described as a "new announcement" made yesterday, David Drummond, senior vice-president for corporate development and chief legal officer, told a House Judiciary hearing on "Competition and Commerce in Digital Books" being held in the US, that retailers such as Amazon "or your local bookstore" would be able to sell access to users "on any internet-connected device they choose".
Google said this was an extension of its earlier initiative, allowing publishers who have joined the Partner Program to market their in-print works through Google Books.
Drummond told the hearing that the Google Settlement was "a strong complement to, and not a substitute for, orphan works legislation, which Google supports". He also said that the registry created as a result of the settlement would "resolve legal disputes" between authors and publishers over digital rights for older books.
But he stressed that the settlement "mostly affects only a very small segment of the book world", which Google estimates represents less than 3% of the commercial book market. "Even though commercial demand may be low, we still believe it's important to our culture and our literary history for people to be able to find and read these books, and for rightsholders to be able to market and sell them."