The Authors Guild hasn't said much since it settled its lawsuit last fall with Google Inc. over the search company's book-scanning project, but it defended the settlement Thursday against recent criticism.
In a letter, author and guild President Roy Blount Jr. said the settlement should be approved because it would ultimately help to find authors of so-called orphan books, which are works that are out of print and unclaimed by any copyright holders.
The concern over Google's project is that, having scanned millions of such books, the company would have a monopoly on them should the settlement be approved by a federal judge later this year.
That's because the settlement lets Google use orphan works without first getting approval from their authors. The Justice Department has reportedly started an inquiry into these antitrust concerns but has not said whether it has launched a formal investigation.