Saturday, March 28, 2009

The GBBR: The Book of Revelations

On Saturday The Wall Street Journal published and interesting article by Ms. Chu who is a principal at Writers Representatives LLC, ‘Google's Book Settlement Is a Ripoff for Authors ‘ We believe that the debate that is being swept under so many tables is finally coming out into the open albeit very close the 5th May deadline.

The article again raises many questions;

‘No one elected these "class representatives" to represent America's tens of thousands of authors and publishers to convey their digital rights to Google. Nor are the interests of this so-called class identical.’

‘Under the settlement, every rights-owner in America is supposed to hand over all their private contract data, on every edition of every work they ever wrote -- and every excerpt permission ever granted to others -- at the peril of losing the money Google will be making on their backs. This is a massive burden on everyone in the book industry, making us all, in effect, Google's data-entry slaves. Indeed, in most cases such information about every permission ever granted is unlocatable. It opens a Pandora's box of disputes and mistaken claims about who actually owns what.’

'The BRR is in fact merely Google's contract negotiation and claims department. As in Hollywood, the settlement deal turns book authors into fully subordinated, last-in-line net residuaries. This reverses the economics of books.'

'The U.S. Constitution grants authors small monopolies in their own copyrights. Author market power is talent-based and individual, not collective. This class action seeks to wipe all this out -- just for Google. But U.S. law does not grant any single publisher monopoly power to herd all of us into its list.'

'Disputes will be fixed in arbitration with no access to federal courts which have often shown mercy to authors. Arbitrators will be "you sign it you eat it" line-parsing bureaucrats.'

It time that we stop accepting it will happen and trying to work how to work within it and just say no before this bad settlement is pushed through.

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