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Writers and Editors (RSS feed)

Is the Google Book Search Settlement Good or Bad for Writers?

I'm posting links to arguments for and against the Google Book Search Settlement in a special section on my Writers and Editors website, on the page about Copyright, work for hire, and other rights issues. Writers keep asking whether to opt in or opt out of the Google Book Search Settlement. Several are opting in, because they never do anything to market their works anyway, and maybe it's better to get $60 per work in the settlement than to get nothing. One argument against the settlement is that it makes Google the largest publisher in the world, one with whom it would be hard for a mere writer to compete, even if the writer were smart enough to hang on to all rights (albeit granting a non-exclusive license to Google, which is what opting in would do, if I understand). In other words, if you could find My Great Book on my website or through Google Book Search, where are you more likely to find it first? Google, obviously. And if the ultimate goal will be to buy and download it where you find it, guess who's going to be selling the most copies. Author or Google? Another issue: Maybe this is a good deal for Google, but is 37% too big a share? This is a fascinating and important issue. Read up on it before you decide. Big issues are being decided here and what Mary Beth Peters of the Copyright Office has to say may be of interest.

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