April 28, 2009 / 9:41 PM / 8 years ago

UPDATE 1-Authors can delay decision on online books-U.S. judge

2 Min Read

(Adds Google comment)

NEW YORK, April 28 (Reuters) - A group of authors who are considering whether to opt out of a settlement with Google Inc (GOOG.O) that gives it the right to distribute books online were granted a delay by a federal judge on Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge Denny Chin granted a four-month extension for a group of authors deciding whether they want to opt out or object to Google's settlement with the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers.

Under the proposed settlement agreed upon last October, Google will pay $125 million to create a Book Rights Registry, where authors and publishers can register works and receive compensation from institutional subscriptions or book sales.

But a separate group of academic authors in Berkeley, California, had petitioned for a delay on deciding whether they should participate in the settlement that paves the way for readers to search through millions of copyrighted books online, browse passages and purchase copies.

"This extension gives class members more time to consider their options under the Google book settlement," said Joanne Zack, one of the lawyers for the Authors Guild.

Gabriel Stricker, a spokesman for Google, confirmed Sept. 4 as the new, extended opt-out deadline for authors.

The previous deadline was May 5.

"The settlement is highly detailed, and we want to make sure rights-holders everywhere have enough time to think about it and make sure it's right for them," he said via email.

The judge set a final settlement hearing of Oct. 7 for court approval. If approved it would bring to a close an almost four-year-long legal challenge of Google's plan to make many of the world's great books searchable online. (Reporting by Christine Kearney; Editing by Richard Chang, Phil Berlowitz)

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