A US federal judge heard oral arguments for and against the proposed Google Books settlement agreement Thursday. At a fairness hearing in New York, supporters of the proposed agreement said Google’s massive digital library would benefit society, while opponents said the proposal is more about money than access to materials. In advance of the hearing, 26 parties were scheduled to voice their concerns at the court, each with five minutes to speak. In 2005, Google Inc. was taken to court under allegations that its Google Books online library infringed copyright as the company scanned books from major American research libraries without permission. In October 2008 a settlement was reached under which Google would pay $125 million US to clear copyrights and establish a Digital Rights Registry to identify and compensate copyright owners whose books are distributed online. The settlement would have given Google exclusive control over millions of digitized books, and critical international reaction to the proposed agreement resulted in changes to the agreement. It was narrowed to include only the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom. The Wire Report reported this month that Canadian lobby groups have filed objections with the US court, saying Google Books violates international copyright law. The groups include the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT), the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) and the Canadian Writers Against Google Settlement (CWAG). Judge Denny Chin said Thursday that the court received more than 500 submissions, and that there was “too much digest” to make an immediate decision. Chin will decide whether the changes made to the 2008 deal are sufficient to withstand constitutional scrutiny. At the hearing, Marc Mauer, president of the US National Federation of the Blind, said Google Books would allow access to 10 million audio books. However plaintiff Sarah Canzoneri, a member of the Children’s Book Guild, argued Google Books is more of a commercial enterprise than a service to society. Sony Corp. argued Google Books encourages market competition, while Microsoft Corp. said the service violates copyright, giving Google an unfair advantage over competitors.