Back in October, Google and the Authors Guild reached an agreement on how Google Books should work. The agreement was put before the court in a 334-page document, and sent to authors and their families so they could decide whether to opt-in or -out of the agreement. The settlement was quite complicated, and involved Google scanning and putting up partial content of both in and out of print books online with ads with revenue that would be shared with publishers and authors.
It seems the settlement wasn’t sent to everyone that needed it once it was released. The families of John Steinbeck and Philip K. Dick, among other copyright holders, filed a complaint to the court about the agreement. It seems some had just learned of the proposed settlement only recently, and they wanted more time to read and understand it. The judge complied and extended the period to opt-out by four months, from May 5 to September 4. On October 7, there will be a final hearing to discuss the fairness of the settlement which some copyright holders seem to dislike.
Actually, according to a NY Times article, the Justice Department is looking into the agreement. Several groups have complained about the agreement, saying that it gives Google “an exclusive license to profit from millions of books.” There’s a chance that the Justice Department might not have to be involved depending on how the final hearing goes, but it shows just how far reaching this agreement is.