Saturday, February 21, 2009

Publishers & Google reach settlement

As we continue to hurtle into the 21st century, one of the snarly issues is authors' copyrights and electronic reproduction. I enourage all to read Walter Benjamin's 1936 essay "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction."

Also, here are some issues worked out in court recently, with full text available at

"The settlement, if Court-approved, will authorize Google to scan in-copyright Books and Inserts in the United States, and maintain an electronic database of Books. For out-of-print Books and, if permitted by Rightsholders of in-print Books, Google will be able to sell access to individual Books and institutional subscriptions to the database, place advertisements on any page dedicated to a Book, and make other commercial uses of Books. At any time, Rightsholders can change instructions to Google regarding any of those uses. Through a Book Rights Registry ("Registry") established by the settlement, Google will pay Rightsholders 63% of all revenues from these uses.

"Google also will pay $34.5 million to establish and fund the initial operations of the Registry and for notice and settlement administration costs, and at least $45 million for cash payments to Rightsholders of Books and Inserts that Google scans prior to the deadline for opting out of the settlement."