Google/ Authors Guild Settlement Affects Artists
I am very sorry that I cannot find the correspondence that brought this to my attention, so please contact me again so I can credit you.
The Google/ Authors Guild case concerns Google’s attempt to scan all books and post them to the internet without first obtaining the permission of the copyright holder. While Google claims this act is their do-no-evil public service as internet uber-librarians, Google stood to earn millions of dollars from the exploitation of these works and had no intent to provide the creators or publishers of same with one penny from the use. While Google claims that only a small portion of any of the books is available for public perusal at any time, this is de facto copyright violation for commercial use.
When I have found these books scanned online via Google, huge sections of the books were available for use by the reader. Nifty for research purposes, but crappy of Google to take advantage of the content provider (author). Google’s empire made some 6 billion dollars last year alone.
(EDIT)While this article, which is written by someone who is clearly unhappy with the settlement, claims Google only made “snippets” of works available. I was able to read 20 pages of copyrighted texts at a time. Basically, entire chapters.
One commenter demanded to know had ANY of the annoyed authors ever made any money on their books after the advance?
Why, yes. I have. Thanks for asking. That’s how I have made almost every penny I have ever made on A Distant Soil.
The Authors Guild settlement will, supposedly, make a portion of the advertising funds raked in by Google payable to authors. How that is all going to work out remains a bit murky.
Further confusing the matter, children’s book illustrations are treated differently under the settlement terms than other book illustrations, which are excluded from the settlement.
This is the correspondence that recently came in the email, directed at all parties who registered to receive info about the claim and settlement outlined here.
Detailed information about the settlement is available at Google Book Settlement. Please read the full Notice, which has detailed information about the settlement, important terms, the claims process, and key dates. It is available at Google Book Settlement Notice. These documents and assistance with the claims process are also available from the Settlement Administrator by email ([email protected]) or telephone (1.888.356.0248).
If you have questions about the settlement, please visit the website or email the Settlement Administrator at [email protected] If you have questions about distributing the Notice or about the ongoing program to notify class members worldwide about this settlement, please contact the Notice Provider at [email protected]
Google Book Search Settlement Administrator
This was the first portion of the settlement notice. I am posting it here for all the people whose eyes will glaze over and who will not read the full notice.
Persons Outside the United States: This settlement may affect you because it covers U.S. copyright interests in books published outside the United States. If you hold such an interest in a book or other material in a book, this settlement will bind you unless you timely opt out.
If You Are a Book Author, Book Publisher or Other Person Who Owns a Copyright in a Book or Other Writing, Your rights may be affected by a class action settlement regarding Google’s scanning and use of Books and other writings.
Authors and publishers filed a class action lawsuit, claiming Google violated the copyrights of authors, publishers and other copyright holders (“Rightsholders”) by scanning in-copyright Books and Inserts, and displaying excerpts, without permission. Google denies the claims. The parties have agreed to a settlement. This summary provides basic information about the settlement. “Books” and “Inserts” are described below.
OK, remember that even if you are NOT an American citizen, this is also about you.
Now, notice that part about inserts?
Let’s have a closer look. Here is what that “insert” means:
What Material Is Covered?
“Books” include in-copyright written works, such as novels, textbooks, dissertations, and other writings, that were published or distributed in hard copy format on or before January 5, 2009. U.S. works must be registered with the U.S. Copyright Office to be included in the settlement. “Books” do not include periodicals, personal papers, sheet music, and public domain or government works.
“Inserts” include any text and other material, such as forewords, essays, poems, quotations, letters, song lyrics, children’s Book illustrations, sheet music, charts, and graphs, if independently protected by U.S. copyright, contained in a Book, a government work or a public domain book published on or before January 5, 2009 and, if U.S. works, registered (alone or as part of another work) with the U.S. Copyright Office. Inserts do not include pictorial content (except for children’s Book illustrations), or any public domain or government works.
Note that in the specific case of CHILDREN’S BOOKS, your illustrations are a part of the Google Settlement.
OK, define “Children’s Book Illustrations”.
Graphic novels included?
And if so, who gets to decide which among those GN’s were intended for children?
Or, as the children’s book publisher who contacted me asked, are ALL GN’s going to be considered children’s book illustrations under this settlement? I tend to doubt that, but interesting that those outside our industry might be confused. That alone tells me problems may arise.
Also, notice the requirement that the works must be registered with the US Copyright Office to be included in the settlement. Interesting, no? So, what does that mean if your work is published but not yet registered? What if Google STILL scans and uploads your work? Registered before January 2009? After? When? What about when the original work has been registered while the derivative work has not?
If you decide to remain in the Google settlement, you are bound by the court rulings and terms, whatever those may be, even though the details have not yet been worked out.
You can bet that this settlement will affect what will come if that Orphan Works Bill ever gets passed.