Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Ursula Le Guin leads revolt against Google digital book settlement
As opt-out deadline approaches, writer launches petition asking for US to be exempt from controversial agreement Story by Alison Flood, guardian.co.uk, Friday 22 January 2010

Ursula K Le Guin. Photograph: Michael Buckner/Getty Images

The family of John Steinbeck has reversed its decision to oppose Google's controversial plans to digitise millions of books, but a growing chorus of authors led by acclaimed science fiction writer Ursula K Le Guin have registered their resistance to the scheme.

As the deadline of 28 January for writers to opt out of the Google book settlement approaches, Le Guin has launched a petition, signed by almost 300 authors, asking that the US "be exempted from the settlement", and that "the principle of copyright, which is directly threatened by the settlement, be honoured and upheld in the United States". Signatories to the petition include Kamila Shamsie, author of the Orange prize-shortlisted Burnt Shadows, respected science fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson and Nick Harkaway, author of the hit debut novel The Gone-Away World.

"The free and open dissemination of information and of literature, as it exists in our public libraries, can and should exist in the electronic media. All authors hope for that," wrote Le Guin in her petition, having previously resigned from the Authors Guild over its support of the Google settlement, calling it a "deal with the devil".

"But we cannot have free and open dissemination of information and literature unless the use of written material continues to be controlled by those who write it or own legitimate right in it," her petition continued. "We urge our government and our courts to allow no corporation to circumvent copyright law or dictate the terms of that control."
Rest at The Guardian online.

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