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Re: Authors, publishers, settle suit with Google

It's not such a bad deal for publishers when you consider that 
(1) they get to choose whether to put their in-print books into 
this program, or the Google Partner program, or opt out 
altogether and (2) there is some possibility of obtaining a 
revenue stream from out-of-print books for which they still own 
the rights without any expenditure of publisher funds at all. The 
Settlement clearly affirms the principle of "opt in" for all 
copyrighted works still in print, which is what publishers 
brought the suit to establish, and it empowers publishers to 
decide which of the various programs they would like to 
participate in, including ones that can generate an additional 
stream of income from advertising revenues. There is no question 
that Google stands to gain in huge ways monetarily from this 
agreement, but I don't think it is such a bad deal for publishers 
as Joe takes it to be.

Sandy Thatcher
Penn State University Press

>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