Google pressed about book deal

The Financial Times reports that Google is coming under growing antitrust scrutiny concerning its landmark settlement with book publishers has greatly added to the pressure on the internet company to back down on the most controversial parts of the deal before a key US court hearing in September, according to antitrust experts.

This week the US Department of Justice (DoJ) issued civil investigative demands (CIDs), or requests for information, to Google and a number of publishers. The Authors Guild also confirmed it had received the request.

The settlement with publishers and authors was designed to resolve a class-action case brought against Google over its project to scan and index millions of books from libraries from around the world, the FT says.

The article adds that the agreement called for a new registry to administer online book rights, and granted Google rights in return for a share of any revenues it collects by selling access to online books.

Critics have argued that the agreement has given Google preferential rights, particularly in concerning books for which the copyright owners cannot be found.