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Re: Authors, publishers, settle suit with Google

It seems to me that the only winner here is Google.  I can't 
speak for the interests of libraries, but it is befuddling that 
the publishers accepted this settlement.  It would appear that 
the publishers would have been better off had they pursued this 
in court--and lost.

Can the publishers' behavior be explained by saying that they did 
not know what was at issue here?  (Among the extraordinary 
aspects of the settlement is that researchers can perform 
computational examinations of databases without compensating 
publishers.  Whew!  Good-bye, data-mining rights.)  Or are they 
simply so intimidated by Google that they felt they needed to do 
anything to end the direct conflict?  The amount of money in the 
settlement ($150 million) is a pittance to a company like Google. 
As a friend of mine once remarked about another company, That's a 
lunch around here.  Anyone who has ever had lunch at Google knows 
that this is not much of an exaggeration.

In the end this is a private conflict; without a court verdict, 
it establishes no precedents.  But it does put Google into a 
peculiarly central position in the information industry, and why 
anyone would be cheerful about having such a powerful player in 
such a position is difficult for me to understand.  As Ariel 
Sharon once wisecracked, When the lion lies down with the lamb, I 
want to be the lion.

Joe Esposito

----- Original Message -----
From: "Karl Bridges" <kbridges@uvm.edu>
To: <liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu>; "B.G. Sloan" <bgsloan2@yahoo.com>
Sent: Thursday, October 30, 2008 4:54 PM
Subject: Re: Authors, publishers, settle suit with Google

> Well, this is good for libraries if A) the licensing costs are
> reasonable and B)they provide MARC data.  I expect many libraries
> would prefer to integrate the books into their catalog and they
> would need that information -- rather than go through Google.
> On the legal side, it seems complicated.  In many cases, the
> author's rights are in their long settled estates. Does this
> mean, for example, in order for Google to pay the royalties on
> out of copyright materials that these cases would have to be
> reopened in probate court to determine the disposition of the
> revenues?  Just determining who the heirs are to some long
> deceased author would seem to be a large problem in itself.
> Karl Bridges
> University of Vermont