I’ve spent most of this morning reading through some documentation sent to me by John Jarrold, my agent, concerning the Google Book Settlement. Google is in the process of digitising books. It began this, and has continued to do so, largely without the permission of rights holders.
The issues are complex. Even the summary I read contained several statements to the effect that we simply won’t how aspects of the agreement will be interpreted until they are tested in a court. Adding to the complexity is a mish-mash of UK and US jurisdictional problems.
Overall, I don’t think Google’s actions are legal; opting in to the settlement will suggest I agree with the legitimisation of an illegal act, which I don’t. It represents a fundamental change to copyright law that puts the onus on rights holders to defend themselves against behemothic entities.