If, like me, you’ve been frantically devoting hours to reading up on Google Book Settlement in an attempt to make up your mind about what to do in the final days before the May 5 deadline…take a breath.
PW reports that “In a surprise move, New York Judge Denny Chin today granted a four-month extension to a group of authors, led by Gail Knight Steinbeck, delaying the May 5 deadline to opt out or object to the Google Book Search settlement to early September.”
So you’ve got until September to decide.
I’ve pretty much made my decision, and was planning to blog about it this week…but I think I’ll delay until closer to the date. What I will say now is that this is a historic settlement that presents the possibility of sweeping changes in many different areas, and has far-reaching implications for authors and publishers. If you’re tempted to bury your head in the sand and do nothing (and I completely sympathize with that feeling–the volume of information and opinion is overwhelming)…don’t. As I understand it, doing nothing is the worst of all possible worlds, since you will neither be able to direct Google to remove your books from its database nor collect the income generated by Google’s commercialization of the database. Whether you agree with the settlement or not, whether you choose to opt in or out, you MUST do something.
In the meantime, here are some resources that I found helpful in clarifying the settlement and the issues surrounding it.
What the Google Book Settlement Means for Authors and Publishers–An admirably clear and concise (given the complexity of the settlement) summary of the settlement’s key points from Joy R. Butler. I guarantee you’ll find something here you didn’t know.
From the Ashley Grayson Literary Agency, a guide to your options under the settlement and how (and whether) to exercise them.
From the Dear Author blog, a roundup of info on the settlement plus links to more articles.
The Google Book Search Settlement: Ends, Means, and the Future of Books: a thoughtful summary of issues of concern–including the huge control over orphan works Google will gain from the settlement–from James Grimmelmann of the American Constitution Society.
Law professor Pamela Samuelson discusses the orphan works issue, as well as the potential monopoly Google may gain from the settlement, in The Dead Souls of the Google Book Search Settlement.
More on the potential Google monopoly from Cory Doctorow at BoingBoing. The comments are interesting as well.
From literary agent Lynn Chu, an opinion on the possible costs of the Book Rights Registry, which the settlement establishes to administer rights claims and payments (by the way, I do not agree with her advice to do nothing).
From the Books and Corsets blog, a summary of a Columbia Law School-sponsored symposium on the settlement. Worth reading, because it highlights some issues that other sources don’t seem to have picked up on.
Mike Shatzkin has questions about the distribution of revenues generated by the settlement.