Thursday, September 10, 2009
Still More Google Books Objections
Further report from Publishers Lunch
Among other filings with the NY District Court in the Google Books Settlement case found after our pretty thorough list in yesterday's Lunch: The Songwriters' Guild of America says the agreement's definition of a book, which "includes musical notation and lyrics that do not reach or exceed" certain threshhold, makes music creators and rightsholders in musical works subject to the settlement "despite having had no opportunity to negotiate the terms of such uses. This is a patently unfair result."
Proquest also objected, saying that they are a "class member who has played by the rules of copyright and contract law for decades and now risks being punished for that vigilance by the unintended consequences of an overly broad mass settlement." Proquest notes that they have substantial business of "subscriptions at almost all public libraries, colleges and universities" in the US, and says the agreement "would be devastating" to their program that provides access to dissertations and microforms.
The Cornell University Library filed in support of the agreement, and ten European members of Hachette filed in opposition.And Lewis Hyde, Harry Lewis, Nicholas Negroponte and Charles Nesson are taking a second shot at intervening, having been swatted away once by Judge Denny Chin in April. This time, the counsel in their motion includes Martin Garbus.
They dispute that "authors are rights holders interested only in maximizing their private gain" and assert that the Authors Guild "failed to represent authors who support a creative commons." They say they "seek to preserve the reading public's right of fair use in the coming digital age."
Among their legal claims are that the settlement tries "to charge the public royalties for the use of orphaned works that do not belong to them, and to convert the proceeds from such charges to their own use."
Finally, a number of petitioners have said that matters of copyright should be left exclusively to Congress. Tomorrow the House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on Competition and Commerce in Digital Books.