By Tony Romm - 02/18/10 09:11 PM EST
Ultimately, time is no matter for Google and its opposing book publishers, who have been at odds for almost five years and counting. When the search engine giant first began to index books -- with previews of those works included -- publishers grumbled that the company had violated their copyrights and promised to fight for an amenable settlement.
Google avoided that boondoggle by agreeing to (and later revising) a $125 million deal with publishers and authors.
However, the Department of Justice -- among others -- quickly condemned that settlement as anti-competitive. Others have since criticized Google for including all books in its registry unless authors opt out, while still more have charged the search giant failed to include sufficient privacy protections for those who read books online.
Google supporters repeated on Thursday their primary argument: that the purpose of copyright is to facilitate the creation and dissemination of creative works, which their service accomplishes.
But a number of opponents during Thursday morning's proceedings hammered the company's logic, stressing its compromise overreached realistic bounds.
A representative from Germany implored Judge Chin to limit the Google deal only to U.S. works, while a lawyer from a coalition of authors in New Zealand expressed concern the deal could prompt the need for sanctions. A representative to the court on behalf of Amazon even called the compromise a "full scale commercial exploitation with essentially no restraint whatsoever."
However, Judge Chin made explicitly clear on Thursday he would not take a side in the case until he had processed all of the evidence.
"To end the suspense, I am not going to rule today," he said, though he seemed more sympathetic to Google's opponents during the day's proceedings. "There is just too much to digest."