I wrote about it here, here, and here. I object strongly to the Google Book Scheme. Nice idea, very bad execution, particularly the part which gave Google exclusive rights and privileges over every other publisher on the planet without any input from authors whatsoever.

For a paltry settlement of $60 per book, Google claimed digital publishing rights with or without author consent as a part of a 300 page settlement with 200 pages of amendments, written in such a way as to virtually guarantee that almost any author would not see their $60 for…well, goodness knows when. The contract was a NET agreement.

Everyone I ever met who thought this thing was a good idea had never actually sat down to read this 500 page monster.

We were not asked prior permission to have our books scanned and placed in their database. They do this whether we want it or not. No publisher or author was asked prior to Google’s proceeding with this action.

While some publishers agreed ex post facto to give Google permission to publish large portions of our works in Book Search as well as their private database, some authors like me have not given publishers permission to extend to Google that right…

The fact remains that this is a rights grab: Google is forcing the digital rights issue on authors. Even if your work is in print, your publisher may make the decision to go with Google whether you are aware of the matter or not, whether your contract covers this matter or not.

Google is scanning commercially available books. They are posted when they are determined to be out of print, and Google becomes your new digital publisher for a fat chunk of the take.


The Department of Justice today ruled AGAINST the Google Book Scheme Settlement
which would have made almost all authors automatically subject to this lousy publishing agreement, including Print On Demand services for your books entirely on Google’s terms. Read it all.

“As the United States and other objectors have noted, many of the concerns raised in the objections would be ameliorated if the ASA were converted from an opt-out settlement to an opt-in settlement. I urge the parties to consider revising the ASA accordingly.”

Everyone who did not sign a document opting out of the settlement is automatically included. And people like Terry Moore of Strangers in Paradise is just one of many creators who signed the opt-out document only to find 80% of their catalogue of work in Google’s system. The fine print in the 500 page Document of Doom gave Google nearly a year to remove any works improperly included, and also gave Google the right to keep their portion of any profits from the commercial exploitation of that work, regardless.

Chin also said the ASA went beyond the pleadings in granting Google permission to sell full access to copyrighted works that it otherwise would have no right to exploit. The ASA would give Google this authority “even though Google engaged in wholesale, blatant copying, without first obtaining copyright permission.”

Let me repeat: the Google Book Search Scheme was sold to the public as an open source reference library for out-of-print works – a boon to researchers, scientists, scholars.

That was false. The Google Scheme included ALL books, and made a grab for commercial exploitation rights. Under some of the worst contract terms I have ever read in my life.

Great day. Ah, I love spring.