Munich Personal RePEc Archive

The Google Book search settlement: A law and economics analysis

Müller-Langer, Frank and Scheufen, Marc (2011): The Google Book search settlement: A law and economics analysis. Published in: Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues , Vol. 8, No. 1 (15. June 2011): pp. 7-50.

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Abstract

Beginning in December 2004 Google has pursued a new project to create a book search engine (Google Book Search). The project has released a storm of controversy around the globe. While the supporters of Google Book Search conceive the project as a first reasonable step towards unlimited access to knowledge in the information age, its opponents fear profound negative effects due to an erosion of copyright law. Our law and economics analysis of the Book Search Project suggests that – from a copyright perspective – the proposed settlement may be beneficial to right holders, consumers, and Google. For instance, it may provide a solution to the still unsolved dilemma of orphan works. From a competition policy perspective, we stress the important aspect that Google’s pricing algorithm for orphan and unclaimed works effectively replicates a competitive Nash-Bertrand market outcome under post-settlement, third-party oversight.

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