June 17, 2009
By Janet Morrisey
Critics of Google's book-searching agreement with publishers and authors were cheered last week when antitrust regulators in the Justice Department set their sights on the search giant's publishing deal, demanding more information.
At issue is a $125 million settlement agreement reached last October that gives Google the right to make millions of books available for reading — and purchase — on the Internet. Under the pact, a Book Rights Registry will be set up that will allow publishers and authors to register their work and get paid for their titles through institutional subscriptions, ad fees and book sales. Google will retain 37% of the revenue, with the remainder going to the registry to be distributed to authors and publishers. The deal effectively gives authors and publishers control over their work in the digital world and pays them for it. For the public, it means easy click-of-the-mouse access to millions of books that sit on dusty shelves in university libraries across the country.
Read Full Article Here.
Now the sticking point here is mainly about "orphan works" or works where the rights holder cannot be identified or found. For most of us self-published authors, this isn't what we should be concerned with at the moment. However, I do urge every self-published author to look at the settlement agreement. If you have books listed on Google's booksearch platform, preview or no, I suggest you register and claim your titles and at the same time you will be able to select which options you prefer and what you will and will not allow google to do with your books. You may also opt out of the settlement. Either way the Deadline for opting out is September 4, 2009 and the deadline for claiming your books is January 15, 2010. This does not apply to those who are part of the google book partner program. The Settlement Site can be found Here.
If you do understand legalese, then please, have a legal professional look over the agreement before you opt in or out.