Oct 28 2008
Google began scanning books in without permission of publishers a few years ago. The scanning of books prompted AAP and several publishers to sue Google for copyright infringement. A settlement has been reached.
Today we’re delighted to announce that we’ve settled that lawsuit and will be working closely with these industry partners to bring even more of the world’s books online. Together we’ll accomplish far more than any of us could have individually, to the enduring benefit of authors, publishers, researchers and readers alike.
Edited to add: More details from the Author’s Guild.
The settlement, which must be approved by a federal judge before it takes effect, includes money for now and the prospect of money for later. There’ll be at least $45 million for authors and publishers whose in-copyright books and other copyrighted texts have been scanned without permission. If your book was scanned and you own all the rights, you’ll get a small share of this, at least $60, depending on how many rightsholders file claims.
Far more interesting for most of us — and the ambitious part of our proposal — is the prospect for future revenues. Rightsholders will receive a share of revenues from institutional subscriptions to the collection of books made available through Google Book Search under the settlement, as well as from sales of online consumer access to the books. They will also be paid for printouts at public libraries, as well as for other uses.
The payments will flow through the Book Rights Registry, a new independent entity that can be thought of as the writers’ equivalent of ASCAP. Much as ASCAP tracks the uses of songs and collects royalties for songwriters and musicians, the Registry will serve the interests of authors and others who own the rights to books appearing online as a result of this settlement. The Registry will be controlled by a board of authors and publishers; as part of the settlement, Google will pay $34.5 million to get the Registry up and running, notify rightsholders of the settlement, and process claims.
I‘ve got some thoughts on this and will write about it on Sunday. If you have your own thoughts, let me know. It’s worth reading the whole Author’s Guild message. The ASCAP is a horribly limiting mechanism and I guess that will give you insight as to what I think of this.