Sunday, 10 May 2009

Google Book Settlement Website

It may be of interest to point out that the Google Book Settlement website has detailed information about the settlement agreement, and also online and downloadable claim forms. N.B. the UK's ALCS (Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society) has published a warning about third-party phishing operations that may target users of the site.

From the FAQ:
I am not a United States citizen, or I live outside of the United States. Am I included in this Settlement?

Yes, most likely you are. If you are a citizen of another country or live in another country, you are likely to own a U.S. copyright interest if:

Your Book was published in the United States;
Your Book was not published in the United States, but your country has copyright relations with the United States because it is a member of the Berne Convention; or
Your country had copyright relations with the United States at the time of the Book’s publication.

You should assume that you own a U.S. copyright interest in your Book, unless you are certain that your Book was published in, and that you reside and are located in, one of the few countries that have not had or do not now have copyright relations with the United States. The Copyright Office has published a list of countries with which the United States has copyright relations, available at If you have further questions about whether you own a U.S. copyright interest in your Book or Insert, you can contact Class Counsel, who are the attorneys representing the Settlement Class. Their names and contact information are on the Notice. You may also seek advice from an attorney or a rights organization in your country.
P.S. The Irish Times has quite an interesting article on the whole issue here.


Eric Dickens said...

I think Karlin Lillington in the Irish Times has written a sober assessment of the matter. Problem Number One is indeed the orphans. But the issue of monopoly also looms. And the role of the Berne Convention is also clearly important. Every country with a developed literature has copyright relations with the USA.

What is annoying about this whole business is that one company has now put the cat among the pigeons, so that hundreds of thousands of authors, translators and publishers worldwide will have to spend valuable time doing copyright research and tackling the nitty-gritty of convoluted legal settlements, instead of getting on with doing things directly with books.

David McDuff said...

The settlement will certainly give copyright lawyers and licensing agencies plenty of work - but I wonder how many authors and publishers are even aware of the problem, and its implications?

Eric Dickens said...

I hope that publishers, authors and translators are now getting wind of what's going on. For instance, German, French, Dutch, Polish, Irish, Russian, British Swedish, Finnish, Spanish press and blogs have discussed the matter within the past fortnight or so, so not all people involved have their head in the sand.

Now that the whole matter has been postponed a little, I'm sure that the matter will be discussed widely.