Will Google become music's next Apple or its next Napster? A panel on global licensing, often buried deep into technical and legal issues, showed that some stakeholders have misgivings about dealing with the company.

The panel's inclusion of Bruce Funkhouser, VP of business operations at Copyright Clearance Center, offered a precautionary tale of engaging Google in copyright issues. Funkhauser recapped the six years since Google launched its book scanning operation in 2004. A main criticism of the settlement -- and there are many -- is that it gives Google rights to orphan and unprotected works in the U.S. Funkhouser, said a judge's decision on the fairness of the revised settlement is expected any day.

In urging the panelists and audience to take proper measures to grow the industry, Patrick Sullivan, president/CEO of Rightsflow, raised the specter of the late, original Napster. "We destroyed that company," he said. "We could have built it up." Google, he argued, could be a similar story.