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Re: Authors, publishers, settle suit with Google

The Registry which will be seeded by Google funds but run 
independently will supposedly be open to all who want to digitize 
books, so rights will be centralized (unless authors opt out). 
This means that any other digital entrepreneurs may also 
undertake digitization projects.  Without this registry, other 
entrepreneurs would either be faced with a law suit like Google 
was in 2005, or obtain rights from individual rights holders 
whose works they want to digitize -- an almost impossible task. 
So yes, Google has a lead on this -- for out of print books still 
in-copyright -- but the door is not shut to others.  (There are 
many practical, management, future funding, and control issues 
relating to the Registry which I'm sure will be topic of many 
discussions should the settlement be accepted by the district 

Lesley Ellen Harris
lesley @ copyrightlaws.com

On Oct 31, 2008, at 9:19 PM, Joseph J. Esposito wrote:

> 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