Tuesday, March 24, 2009

You’ve Got Google Questions? Authors Guild Has Got Answers.

STATUS: Google on my mind.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? I DON’T WANNA TALK ABOUT IT by Indigo Girls

Because I’m a glutton for punishment, I’ve spent the last 2 days thoroughly reading the 140-page Google Book Settlement. Yes I’ve talked to my attorney about it. Yes, I’ve discussed it with other agents. Yes, I have even talked with the Authors Guild General Counsel about it. But despite those many wonderful and revealing conversations, nothing beats a thorough understanding that comes from actually reading the settlement. For me, I felt like I needed all the pieces in place before creating my own Google letter that went out to clients today.

And you thought I was purposely avoiding my slush pile and email queries these past couple of weeks!

If you’ve been following this story, you’ll know that the Authors Guild was a named Plaintiff in the initial suit back in 2005 when the copyright infringement first began. And they have continued to be active in how this settlement will unfold and the creation of a new entity called the Book Registry.

In other words, they’ve been a strong advocate for authors’ rights in this matter.

And they are making available many valuable resources regarding the suit and the upcoming settlement and what you need to know about it on their website, for free, even for non-members.

That’s a heck of a public service. If you’ve got Google questions, chances are you can find the answers.

Hum… maybe you should think of joining the Authors Guild if you aren’t already a member. With a $90 annual fee, I’d say that’s money well spent.

And if you haven’t looked at the Google Book Settlement site, you might want to take a peek. It also has an informative FAQ page there.

If you are an author with in print or out of print books, the AG recommends that you do opt in for this settlement and claim ALL your books—even foreign editions. You can always change your mind later about allowing or not allowing display rights or even if you want to remove a book forever from being included in the Book Registry.

If you do nothing, you are automatically included and bound by the settlement and you won’t have a say in how your books are handled because you must claim them through this formal process to have control of how the content is handled via the Book Registry.

You can opt out of the settlement but AG only recommends that if you want the fun of suing Google yourself. Better have deep pockets is all I’m saying…

So find out what you need, get the answers to your Qs, so you can decide if you want to opt in.

ps. If there is any part of the settlement that you plan to read, I'd recommend Attachment A: Author-Publisher Procedures.