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Old 02-11-2009, 04:48 PM   #1
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Google Book Settlement Site Is Up; Paying Authors $60 Per Scanned Book

News from TechCrunch

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Last October, Google signed a $125 million settlement with the Author’s Guild to pay authors for copyrighted works it has scanned and made available on the Web through its Google Book Search project. More than 7 million books have been scanned by Google so far, a large portion of them out of print. Today, the Google Book Settlement site went up, which allows authors and other copyright holders of out-of-print books the ability to submit claims to participate in the settlement.

What do they get? Authors, publishers, and other copyright holders will get a one-time payment of $60 per scanned book (or $5 to $15 for partial works). In return, Google will be able to index the books and display snippets in search results, as well as up to 20% of each book in preview mode. Google will also be able to show ads on these pages and make available for sale digital versions of each book. Authors and copyright holders will receive 63 percent of all advertising and e-commerce revenues associated with their works. With Google Book Search now available on mobile phones, downloaded e-books could become an interesting digital side-business for Google. (But please Google, convert the scanned text into something more easily legible on the screen).

Remember, this settlement is only for the millions of out-of-print books that are making zero revenues for authors and publishers today. So it is not a bad deal all around. Copyright holders have until January 5, 2010 to make a claim.
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Old 02-21-2009, 02:29 PM   #2
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I missed this when you posted it, but this is definitely good news.
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Old 04-25-2009, 12:53 AM   #3
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Ashley Grayson literary agency blog commentary on the settlement:
It is a major manipulation of the marketplace that effectively diminishes your ability to earn money from your works in significant new markets. In time, these new markets may become the only markets, so this is serious.
....
It establishes a single electronic rights clearing house, the Book Rights Registry (BRR), with an entitlement to a percentage of the electronic income of all works. This amounts to a mandated electronics rights agency that every author is required to pay, but no author can question.
....
Publishing consultants are already promising a gold rush of new business based on “content” with no recognition of “authors” in the business model.
It also points out that among the representative authors, not a single novelist was included. And "deadline for an action you might want to take is May 5, 2009."

Hmmmm.

I haven't got any conclusions. It does look like "hey, let's legislate new ways of dealing with tech!" done by people who don't understand the tech or the long-term implications.

While I think some aspects of copyright as it stands are ridiculous, I don't think the solutions involve *more* gov't-appointed agencies taking control of content.
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Old 04-25-2009, 01:23 AM   #4
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So we have to wait until after January 2010 for them to give the publisher's time to submit claims or say they don't want their books included for Google to be able to make anything available? Could be worse I suppose - I've known of settlements to drag on for decades.
But I'm so looking forward to Google being able to make available out of print but still in copyright works that the publishers have no interest in making available as ebooks through other channels.
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Old 04-25-2009, 01:29 AM   #5
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I opted out. I was fine with Google having a partial scan of my book available--I think it could drive sales--but the provisions about Google having the right to sell the ebook disturbed me immensely.
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Old 04-25-2009, 01:40 AM   #6
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Maggie, I'm confused. Is your book out of print? I was under the impression that if your book was still in print (and therefore you are still making money off of it) that the settlement provisions did not apply. Did I miss something?
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Old 04-25-2009, 02:38 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by phenomshel View Post
Maggie, I'm confused. Is your book out of print? I was under the impression that if your book was still in print (and therefore you are still making money off of it) that the settlement provisions did not apply. Did I miss something?
As what I read and understand from the posted news, only those out of print can claim. Its a good way since authors are o longer earning since being out of print but if its print and they still would compensate for it... would that be double strike?
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Old 04-25-2009, 05:12 AM   #8
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By opting out of the Google Book Agreement you haven't prevented Google from scanning and using your work. You have just retained your right to sue them for copyright infringement if they do.

I'd be surprised if Google did continue to use works from people who have opted out though - as far as I can see they're mainly wanting to bring back orphaned works.

Even so, I'm really unhappy with the outcome. This is a major change to the way one company can use copyrighted works. Such a big and significant change realy ought to be done by legislation and not through a court settlement, and ought to work for anyone, not just one large corporation.


Quote:
Originally Posted by MaggieScratch View Post
I opted out. I was fine with Google having a partial scan of my book available--I think it could drive sales--but the provisions about Google having the right to sell the ebook disturbed me immensely.
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Old 04-26-2009, 01:43 AM   #9
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No, the book is still in print. I guess I didn't understand that part, and they definitely scanned the book. I'm fine with a partial scan being available, as I said it's like a free sample and helps to drive sales. But it's such a great big scary rights grab that I just didn't want to be part of it.

ETA: According to this Teleread post, the settlement class includes the author of any book published prior to January 5, 2009. I'm a member of that class. I might not have been eligible for an orphan-book payment, but that's okay because I want no parts of this.

Last edited by MaggieScratch; 04-26-2009 at 01:55 AM.
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