Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Great Book Bank Robbery - A Close Shave?

Remember Judge Chin and the Google Book Settlement? Well it appears that the judge has finally made his ruling and his answer is NO!

We obviously now need to draw breath and understand the ruling in detail and its implications on all parties and their positions moving forward. Having fought this madness from day one, we at least are relieved that the Great Book Bank Robbery has once more been foiled. Someone asked if we were happy at the result, our answer is one of cautious relief, but frustration it took so long, divided the industry and it is unclear whether we have really learnt how we nearly sold a lot for a little.

However, the Judge does leaves the door open for yet another revision, but will all parties continue to flog this near dead horse and make more lawyers rich. Will Google capitulate and bend further?

The challenge is, that without a continued case, some will say Google will be vindicated and continue business as usual. Others will say that the mess that we have today is a direct fault of pursing a case for a settlement and accepting one that was not found wanting once. but twice.

The ‘opt in’ Judge Chin states is a logical change, but may be one that is a bitter pill for Google to swallow, as it will certainly exclude the orphans and foil an audacious and ill conceived settlement attempt by some to sell what they didn’t own.

So where do the APA and Authors Guild now stand? Will they try once more to seek international approvals? Will they try to work with the EU’s initiative? Will all parties just soldier on and conjure up a third settlement at whatever price it takes?

The Authors Guild and APA need to ask why an industry that is all about rights trading has no rights registry. They now need to wake up and recognise the close shave we have all had and bring all parties together, create a registry for all that is not tied to any deal and importantly listen and learn from this episode.

To read the ruling

To read statement from Authors Guild

To read statement from APA

AFP wire covering Google's reaction

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