The Google Book Settlement and I

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.

If you’d like to know more, here is the Google Book Settlement Page; and here is a sum­mary by Gillian Spraggs.

BubbleCow: The Google Settlement

BubbleCow reports on the set­tle­ment agreed by Google to reim­burse the authors whose works Google has been scan­ning, fiendishly, in the dead of night.

Over the past years Google has been sys­tem­at­ic­ally scan­ning lib­rary books and mak­ing the digit­al cop­ies freely avail­able on the inter­net. The poten­tial implic­a­tions to writers, the impact on their sales and the thorny issues of copy­right res­ul­ted in leg­al action and a recent set­tle­ment in the US.

BubbleCow: The Google Settlement — more money for writers?