Tuesday, November 18, 2008

One Step Closer to a Full Pardon

Associated Press report that a Federal Judge, John Sprizzo in Manhattan has ‘tentatively approved’ the settlement of lawsuits between Google and book authors and publishers that may put millions of out-of-print texts online. We have raised many issues on this Great Book Bank Robbery but appear to be standing with only a few others in questioning it. Where is the debate on the biggest decision this industry has ever taken?

Perhaps it’s the deal that has seduced so many. A few pieces of silver may be important but not so much as appearing to have taken on the Mighty and won. But will the deal last the test of time? The industry has until potentially June next year to throw this out and renegotiate a equitable deal after then it will be too late.

Is it even practical or possible to build the Rights register? Who will specify it? How will conflict be resolved and by whom? Why is it opt out not opt in? Is the settlement dependant on the rights register or is it just about a settlement deal.

It is now time for each industry body to consult their membership, discuss the opportunities, issues and challenges and make their respective statements. How will they do it? It is now time that individual organisations and parties asked for the debate? It would be a shame if a decision so important to authors, publishers, booksellers and consumers was made in one country by a few.

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