Monday, August 31, 2009


Leaving aside the questions around whether the Google Book Settlement, if it goes ahead, will override NZ copyright law, or give Google an undue advantage over its competitors, the immediate question facing NZ writers and publishers is what to do. Opt out by sending a letter or email by the 4 September deadline, or do nothing and stay in?

The course Victoria University Press will be taking, and recommends to VUP authors, is to stay in. It is important to realise that the settlement does not give Google carte blanche to publish your book online. In fact, it allows you to dictate how much of the text Google can display (nothing or a 20% preview, your choice), or indeed to instruct them to remove your book entirely, and it makes you eligible to benefit from future revenue streams.

In order to realize these powers and benefits, you need to claim your books by the later deadline of January 5, 2010.


Lynley Hood said...

Problems with opting in to the proposed Google Book Settlement (GBS) now, or staying in by default, include:

1. The proposed GBS is yet to be ratified by a Court. If you opt-in (or stay in by default) now, you will be agreeing to something that may change radically before it is finalised. If you don't like the final deal, it'll be too late to get out. You'll be stuck with it. Forever.

2. Under the proposed GBS, the running costs of the Book Rights Register will be deducted before publishers & authors are paid. Will there be anything left for us? Isn't it a bit reckless to agree to the GBS without some assurance on this point?

3. The process by which non-US publishers and authors are to be paid is not addressed in the proposed GBS.

4. Non-US publishers and authors are not represented on the proposed Book Registry.

5. With a coalition featuring Microsoft, Amazon and Yahoo challenging the proposed GBS, competition is heating up. This development may well produce better offers for publishers & authors. But if you're already tied in to Google, tough.

And so on

Lynley Hood

Fergus said...

On point 5: the rights Google acquires under this settlement are non-exclusive and won't stop you accepting a better offer from someone else.