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more on the Google Books Grab

"The National Writers Union, the American Society of Journalists and Authors, and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America have written to their author peers in Congress, seeking their support in encouraging the Department of Justice to continue its opposition to the Google Books Settlement. The Los Angeles Times reports that Google declined to address the letter’s concerns, and the Authors Guild did not respond to a request for comment."

This letter succinctly and clearly lays out the issues at hand in Google's attempt to pirate all the world's books. Let's hope that Congress listens.

Chris

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( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
tessagratton
Jan. 9th, 2010 02:35 pm (UTC)
Great letter! Did you see Ursula K. Le Guin's call for authors to add their name to a list (basically a petition) declaring publicly that they're opposed to the settlement?
mckitterick
Jan. 9th, 2010 04:39 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I saw that too. Her name associated with The Resistance really helped get others motivated to act.
geekmom
Jan. 9th, 2010 07:33 pm (UTC)
Still seems a bit over the top and missing bits. The only thing covered is orphan works, because orphan works are not available anywhere but libraries and used book stores. Yes, publishers are already negotiating deals to publish electronically, but they're doing that with all sorts of companies, like Amazon and B&N.

If you opt out, you're opting out for the settlement payment for having had your book scanned and possibly allowing yourself to negotiate your own settlement. If you don't want your book published by Google for pay after the deal goes through, you can specify that.

I'm not saying that there aren't a few reasons the deal shouldn't be examined. There are. But overall this means authors will get paid for books that are out of print. I can't seen why that (in general) isn't a good thing.
mckitterick
Jan. 10th, 2010 05:35 am (UTC)
See, this is exactly what the letter is talking about. If you "opt out," you're opting out of the settlement, right? Or opting out of the automatic pirating...? It's all about POV, and Google has a completely different POV than content creators.

PS: Have you looked at the contract Google is offering? It's hardly "for pay." I could earn as much by selling copies on the street-corner ;-)

The reason it's a terrible thing is not because books will see print. Plenty of e-publishers are willing to put books back into print; costs them near-to-nothing. What's terrible is that Google just decided one day to take everyone's work, scan it, give it away to everyone... and rake in the buckies for themselves for what they've done.

Most criminals aren't allowed to profit from their crimes. On the other hand, Google has really good lawyers, so they not only haven't gotten charged with anything, they're profiting from having stolen everyone's work. Seems pretty open-and-shut to me.
geekmom
Jan. 10th, 2010 06:16 am (UTC)
I'm on my phone, so details later. Yes, opt out is settlement. Opt out is for cash for previous scans, and that wasn't necessarily illegal. They never exposed the entire work, but it did exist as a hidden reference for searches, just as does a copy of the entire web. Courts might have ruled it fair use.

Once the deal goes through, orphan works are exposed by default. You can turn this off. If Google makes money, you do too. I don't have the settlement in front of me, but I believe it's you 60 Goog 40 percent. And it establishes a group to oversee revenue distribution and contact rights holders. From what I recall, they wanted to charge for full ebooks instead of the usual cpm ad rates, so it would be a better deal than selling from the back of your car, but hey, you could turn off the option if you're a good salesperson.

The concerns are that the oversight board might not go far enough to contact rights holders and that this deal would be too hard to negotiate for competitors.

I'd also rather see an opt-in system to expose entire works, but I don't think it's quite so open and shut. Phew! That was a lot of phone typing.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )