11.08.09 Graeme Neill in The Bookseller
The New York Times recently quoted WME attorney Eric Zohn, who said that the settlement gave Google a "license to sell your books at a pre-negotiated one-time royalty rate that you're stuck with". The Authors Guild, quoted by Publishers Weekly, denied this is true and said authors are not bound by the negotiated rate. The Guild said the only good reason to opt out of the settlement is if a publishers wanted "to sue Google". WME's advice to clients "contains several errors that are likely to sow some confusion", the Guild added.
The Guild adds that WME's "principal mistake is that it appears to think that the uses that the settlement permits Google to make are interminable." In reality, the Guild said: "all rights are terminable at will by the rightsholder."
The $125m settlement, between US publishers and Google, allows US Google users to search and preview seven million scanned titles with an option to buy. It was signed in October 2008 although the ratification date—originally set for June—has been postponed until October.