On the 16th January on page 9 The Bookseller printed a whole page ‘Legal Notice’ on behalf of the Google Book Search Settlement Administration. We waited expecting some commentary or debate in the press but saw none.
The ‘Legal Notice’ was entitled ‘If you are a Book Author, Book Publisher or Other Person Who owns a Copyright in a Book or Other Writing’.
It went on ‘Your rights may be affected by a class action settlement regarding Google’s scanning and use of Books and other writings’. It warned, ‘This settlement may affect you because it covers US copyright interests in books published outside the US. If you hold such an interest in a book or other material in a book, this settlement could bind you unless you timely opt out.’
The notice summarised what the settlement provided, who was included, what material is covered and what you should do. 'The settlement class includes all persons worldwide who hold a US copyright interest in any book or insert.' Books include 'in-copyright works; novels, textbooks, dissertations and other writings that were published or distributed in hard copy on or before January 5th 2009... Inserts include; 'forewords, essays, poems, quotations, letters, song lyrics, children’s book illustrations, sheet music, charts and graphs if independently protected by US copyright contained in a book...’
The notice sets out the critical timeline:
May 5th 2009
Object or comment in writing
Opt out in writing of the settlement and keep the right to sue Google individually
June 11th 2009
The court will determine whether to approve the settlement at a fairness hearing
January 5th 2009
File a claim for cash payment
Otherwise do nothing and remain within the settlement and be bound by the courts ruling, including a release of your claims against Google.
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