I’ve been really wary of the Google settlement since it was first announced.
What author wouldn’t be worried about the monolith’s bid to control online publication and reprinting of printed works?
Authors Guild has been a big proponent of the settlement, which kind of surprises me. (The group helped iron out the final details.) I don’t pretend to understand everything about the settlement; I just know that any company that tries to become the next monopoly over anything and everything can be a dangerous bedfellow – no matter how good their silk sheets feel. (Remember Microsoft, anyone?)
However, I understand the urgency to protect copyrighted material online. The net is a great tool for publicity and sharing, but it can also be misused by some unscrupulous people – or fans who just don’t know any better.
I found a few new interesting posts about the Google Settlement. In one, a former antitrust enforcer claims the settlement could open up new sales venues for authors. I found this quote in the IT World article quite interesting:
"We have to start off and really recognize what Google has accomplished," said Balto, now a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank. "Google, at its own expense and its own risk, went into an agreement with major research libraries to scan millions of books to create a library of unprecedented dimensions."
The first part of that quote reminds me of how Wal-Mart bullies companies into doing business with them. It’s a do-or-die attitude. What Google accomplished was to force the hands of authors and publishers. Period. IMHO.
As PW has reported, the William Morris Endeavor agency is telling its authors to stay out of the settlement, going against the Authors Guild. The two agencies are having a war of words. Read about it in this update from Publishers Weekly.
The Association for American Publishers has a video on its site explaining the settlement.0