Tuesday, April 28, 2009

UK Booksellers association Stands Up Against the Google Book Settlement

The Bookseller has printed a letter from the BA chief executive Tim Godfray in which he has called for UK publishers to prevent Google from commercially exploiting their titles online and repeated its warning that the settlement between Google and the US Author's Guild and the Association of American Publishers results in Google being "handed a monopoly", with competitors "placed at a considerable disadvantage".

Godfray states the obvious in that the agreement ‘will affect almost all of us in the UK book trade.’

The letter comes at a time when 1,300 German authors stood up to be counted and when the US Author's Guild and the Association of American Publishers requested a two-month delay to the resolution of the Google Settlement to allow those affected "more time to consider [their] rights and options". It also comes on a day when some leading literary figures requested a four-month postponement.

We now have two months to get off the fence and debate the settlement, expose its weaknesses and decide what sort of book trade we require in the digital age and importantly how we treat, respect and manage orphan works. Some will argue vigorously for free access, some will stick to the monopoly offered Google, others may seek to amend the law for orphans.

We hope the playground politics now ends and the time is given for the small voices to be heard and proper dissemination of information and debate to happen.

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