Tuesday, November 17, 2009
PA to support Google Settlement
16.11.09 Catherine Neilan in The Bookseller
The Publishers Association has filed a letter in support of the Google Settlement with the New York district court, after negotiating for some of the changes announced in the amended agreement. The trade body had retained a neutral stance to the settlement up unti now.
Following widespread criticism by non-US publishers, claiming that class members were not fairly represented, the PA said it would offer its support on behalf of UK publishers on the proviso that the " substantial revisions" would be made.
The amended settlement agreement, announced late Friday night, now only covers books that are either registered with the US Copyright Office or published in the UK, Canada, or Australia. The PA said this would give UK rightsholders "more control over their works, and substantially decrease the risk of works being exploited without their explicit authorisation". It also guarantees representation for UK publishers on the Book Rights Registry’s Board of Directors.
Simon Juden, chief executive of the PA, said he was “happy the changes give us what we need”. He added: “I’m confident that the revisions we were able to negotiate on condition of our support are beneficial for all UK publishers who choose to remain in the settlement. The alternative, which would have been to withhold our support and have UK works excluded from the scope of the Settlement, would have deprived UK rightsholders of control over how their works are exploited."
However, not all UK publishers are able to join with the PA in supporting the new terms. The trade body said it "explicitly acknowledge[d]" that members such as Hachette UK would be unable to give the deal its backing, following the objections filed by its parent company before the initial deadline in early September. "The PA’s support is without prejudice to the positions of its members which remain reserved," the association said.
Juden offered his thanks to Macmillan for its "invaluable support for the PA’s negotiating position as well as the expertise freely contributed for the wider benefit of the industry in its own negotiations as plaintiff".
The PA is now planning a seminar on 1st December, for both members and non-members, to provide further practical guidance on what steps they should take next. More information will be available shortly at www.publishers.org.uk.
PA guide to changes to the amended Google Settlement