U.S. Circuit Judge Denny Chin in Manhattan said the creation of a universal library would "simply go too far." Still, he left the door open for an eventual deal, noting that many objectors would drop their complaints if Google set it up so book owners would choose to join the library rather than being required to quit it.
The $125 million settlement that had drawn hundreds of objections from Google rivals, consumer watchdogs, academic experts, literary agents and even foreign governments. Google has already scanned more than 15 million books for the project.
Hilary Ware, Google's managing counsel, called the decision disappointing and said the company was considering its options.
"Like many others, we believe this agreement has the potential to open up access to millions of books that are currently hard to find in the U.S. today," Ware said in a statement. "Regardless of the outcome, we'll continue to work to make more of the world's books discoverable online through Google Books and Google eBooks."
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