Are you a published author? If so, you may have received a notice regarding the landmark lawsuit filed by the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers against Google (famous for adopting the Hippocratic Rule, “First, do no harm” as their motto – I’ve always liked that).
In a nutshell, Google contracted with a number of universities, including the University Library of the University of Michigan, to digitally scan and create a searchable index of a subset of the books in their collection. Sounds cool, right?
The problem is, suppose you are an author of books in that collection. If Google makes the entire collection available on-line, your ability to make money from those books is gone. Thus, the lawsuit.
If you are a published author and are affected by this, you should have received received a rightsholders notice describing the lawsuit and giving you a chance to opt out so you could pursue your own claim against the company. The original notices were mailed out on January 5th, 2009.
The deadline for opting out is coming up fast. The last opt-out day os September 4th, 2009.
Me, I’ve got a number of books in the settlement and I’m staying in. First, I am a fan of Google and I believe in what they are doing. I generally don’t write for the money, and the books in question are old books that I am more than happy to share with the universe.
That said, there are plenty of folks who feel differently. Plenty. If you are on the fence, or just plain interested, here are some things to look at.
Here’s a link to the Author’s Guild resource page, a collection of links relevant to this lawsuit.
Here’s a link to the settlement agreement.
And, finally, here’s a link to Roy Blount, Jr.’s message to the Author’s Guild membership. Roy is the president of the Author’s Guild.