Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Great Book Bank Robbery - Date to be Confirmed

Google Book Settlement is one week away from reaching first base and what looked an easy task appears to be getting harder to call.

The District Court has denied two requests to intervene in the case. The Internet Archive and Harvard’s Berkman Center had sought to make motions to the court but both were rejected. This leaves them free to file objections to the proposed settlement or amicus briefs.

A group of authors representing; John Steinbeck and Thomas Myles Steinbeck, Catherine Ryan Hyde, The Philip K. Dick Testamentary Trust, Arlo Guthrie, Michael W. Perry, Eugene Linden, and James Rasenberger has filed a motion requesting a four-month extension of the 5th May deadline. The attorney for the publishers’ sub-class, Michael Boni, has openly said the authors’ complaint was without merit and asked the court to reject it. However, Google have said they would be amenable to a 60-day extension. If the extension is granted the authors may support, opt out or start their own litigation of the settlement. The attorney acting for the authors claimed that the current notice was clearly defective, authors remain unaware of the settlement’s requirements and that even the U.S. Register of Copyrights Marybeth Peters is struggling to understand components of the settlement.

Google may finally be starting to fully understand the implications on orphans and the size of the prize they seek. Alexander Macgillivray, Google's associate general counsel, in a post 'Extending notice on the Google Book Settlement' said, "It's pretty easy for credit card companies to contact their cardholders - they send bills to them all the time. The world's authors, publishers and their heirs are much more difficult to find." The New York Times reports that the plaintiffs have hired notice campaign specialists Kinsella Media Group to tell authors and publishers about the settlement. However is this merely window dressing and going through the motions or are they serious about getting everyone engaged, debating and potentially objecting to the settlement?

We remain were we were in October last year totally opposed to rewarding theft with a land grab of orphans whose owners are unrepresented and it now seems hard to contact. Perhaps that is the whole point why they are currently protected by the law.

1 comment:

tuffy777 said...

I don't understand the problem. If anything, Google has increased sales for the authors. By providing brief excerpts, they have whetted readers' appetites and encouraged them to buy the books.

In fact, the excerpts are very brief.

They have generated some sales of my own novels for me. No harm, no foul.