… [T]he project of digitising the information held in the world’s printed books is too important to be dealt with purely as a commercial venture between rights holders and a potential supplier of services.
…. If we let Google have its settlement we will all be the poorer. Not for a while, perhaps, but one day we will need more from this new library of Alexandria than Google is willing to offer, and find that the price it demands is more than we can pay.
Yes. OK, so I opted out of the Google book settlement — before the deadline, and despite, it seemed, most other local publishers e-signing on the dotted line. Many, it seemed to me, consented on the basis of ‘better the devil you know’ and, with respect, dreaming that they retained some ‘control’ that way. (Er, not so much.)
Another argument was that you should ‘opt in’ unless you intended to sue Google yourself(!) That idea, of course, is presented as unthinkable for a small publisher or author out to protect their rights. Hmpf.
Well, not so fast. Having crossed swords with Google previously over the unethical use of my name, business name, authors’ names and trademarks in Google ads by an unscrupulous, um, er, ‘businessman‘, in the end, I found Google “OK” to deal with.
One certainly needs to marshal one’s argument with Google and to be persistent and well-organised, and allow them time to process the issues at stake, even push back on their initial response (hey, it’s the information age). From my experience, Google actually does pretty well on the communication score. (Do they want a million lawsuits? No.)
For me, the USA-centric aspect of the proposed book settlement deal is the eye-watering thing. “Like, Shah! It affects the whole world. OMG!” Good on the Germans for objecting to the cultural imperialism. (Ha! Ironic. Didn’t see that coming.) Continue reading →