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#41 Michael Capobianco

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Posted 21 January, 2010 - 10:59 AM

Michael, if the book is out-of-print and rights haven't reverted, the least an author could receive would be $30 for the digitization payment. Unearned advances won't factor in.

Likewise, for new money that comes in from subscription and online purchases, the least the author would receive is 50%. (You shouldn't opt out.)


I didn't see that in the settlement, and it makes a big difference. At your leisure, if you could point me to where it says that, I'd be appreciative.
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#42 Lynne Thomas

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Posted 21 January, 2010 - 11:00 AM

Lynne, the Authors Guild counts many academic authors as members. Even academic authors want their out-of-print works available, so long as they have control. And if they believe information wants to be free, they can charge $0 for users to view the entirety of their works. They can even use Creative Commons licenses.

Regarding the "monopoly": all uses are non-exclusive. Authors sign up with the Registry on a non-exclusive basis (unlike, say, ASCAP or BMI). The Registry's agreement with Google is nonexclusive. As the Registry locates more and more rightsholders, more and more rightsholders will be able to authorize others to undertake projects similar to Google's.


I understand the non-exclusivity. I'm just arguing that the vast majority of the academic authors (not counting the small percentage of those that are really involved in this particular discussion) involved are unlikely to make the effort to get their materials included in other venues if they are included in the Google Books registry. While it's not an active attempt at monopoly, the net result is similar to creating one.

We're still trying to get the bulk of our faculty to understand that "open access" does not mean "lack of peer review." Creative commons licensing may be available, but there's no guarantee that it will be used. Inertia is a powerful force.
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#43 Lou Anders

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Posted 21 January, 2010 - 11:00 AM

I may have misspoken. Partial online samples wouldn't put us off a reprint. In fact, we have a sizable collection of excerpts here: http://www.pyrsf.com...leChapters.html
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#44 Mary Robinette Kowal

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Posted 21 January, 2010 - 11:03 AM

Paul, I have an audience question that I would really love it if you could tackle.

I would like to ask for further clarification on the "administrative fee" for the Book Rights Registry. Could someone please explain to me a little more about this fee (amount, subscription-based or one-time)? Thank you!


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#45 Charlie Stross

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Posted 21 January, 2010 - 11:04 AM

I may have misspoken. Partial online samples wouldn't put us off a reprint. In fact, we have a sizable collection of excerpts here: http://www.pyrsf.com...leChapters.html

Lou, with respect, Pyr pursues a very specific publishing model -- original hardcover/trade paperback works. There are other business models for publishers to pursue. If nothing else, as Cory Doctorow points out, books are physical cultural artefacts; no degree of online availability is going to do much to affect the value of a limited-edition letterpress gilt-trimmed autographed edition with author's ephemera and a new foreword, for example. It may even help sell it indirectly. Obviously this isn't your business model, but we should bear in mind that the term "publisher" covers a multitude of different sins ... :)
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#46 Paul Aiken

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Posted 21 January, 2010 - 11:05 AM

Pragmatically, the idea of having one-stop-shopping for copyright clearance sounds great--it means much less hassle for my patrons, for instance, when trying to do reprints or get permissions.

I'm a bit nervous, however, about the possibility that this "universal library" will not be very universal. Contrary to popular belief, not everyone in the United States has consistent internet access.

It also seems a bit odd to me that the onus is on the copyright holders, rather than on those seeking reproduction or access, and that copyright law is essentially being re-written by one corporation, rather than Congress.



Not everyone has Internet access, it's true. But nearly every library does. So long as public libraries take advantage of the offer, every public library will have a terminal for public access to this database of out-of-print books.

Copyright law isn't being re-written, and Google certainly didn't do this by itself. The public benefits of this settlement are enormous.
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#47 Lou Anders

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Posted 21 January, 2010 - 11:06 AM

I stand doubly corrected.
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#48 Charlie Stross

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Posted 21 January, 2010 - 11:07 AM

I would like to ask for further clarification on the "administrative fee" for the Book Rights Registry. Could someone please explain to me a little more about this fee (amount, subscription-based or one-time)? Thank you!


From the FAQ:

How will the Registry be funded?
To fund the establishment and initial operations of the Registry, and to pay for the costs of the Class Notice Program and claims administration costs, Google agreed to pay US $34.5 million, of which Google has already paid $12 million. On an ongoing basis, the Registry will be funded by taking an administrative fee as a percentage of revenues received from Google.


(No actual figure for the percentage cut is specified, which fact does not fill me with joy.)
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#49 Michael Capobianco

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Posted 21 January, 2010 - 11:09 AM

I hope everyone in the audience will make a note that the deadline to opt out of the settlement in January 28, and, if you don't opt out, you're in, and subject to the rules of the settlement. There will be other chances to manage your books or remove them, but Jan. 28th is your last chance to tell the Authors Guild and Google that you want no part of this.
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#50 Lynne Thomas

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Posted 21 January, 2010 - 11:10 AM

Not everyone has Internet access, it's true. But nearly every library does. So long as public libraries take advantage of the offer, every public library will have a terminal for public access to this database of out-of-print books.

Copyright law isn't being re-written, and Google certainly didn't do this by itself. The public benefits of this settlement are enormous.


I have great difficulty seeing the benefit of this settlement to either public or academic libraries, or by extension, the public(s) that they serve. I fail to see enough oversight being built into the settlement to keep libraries from being price-gouged over time.

“Fully participating” libraries get sweetheart subscription deals (25 years for free in the case of Michigan’s deal) in exchange for providing Google with access to their books for scanning. Thus, large research libraries with large collections and more resources are set even further apart from research libraries with smaller collections (like mine), which is not conducive to the equitable sharing of information that is often produced by publicly funded academics. Libraries are being tantalized with access to a large collection of books that will, over time, become prohibitively expensive to subscribe to if the history of this particular funding model is any indication. The one or two “free terminals” provided in the settlement will not be sufficient for any relatively large academic or public community; our users will expect us to subscribe for campus-wide or large urban system-wide access.

This settlement will likely end up doing to electronic books what making scholarly journals electronic has done to paper periodicals, which is to raise the prices so much that they become prohibitive, despite the purported intent to base pricing upon “what the market can reasonably bear,” (also one of the Settlement’s pricing criteria). That understanding of “reasonable” is wildly skewed, and does not reflect the realities of library funding.

20 years ago, academic libraries spent from 50-80% (depending on the library) of their budgets on books, and the rest on serials (periodicals/scholarly journals). Now, most libraries spend 80-90% of their budgets on electronic serials (periodicals/scholarly journals) subscriptions, with what’s left (10-20%) going to books. The subscription prices have gone up much faster than inflation (anywhere from 8-15% per year, depending on the vendor), while our budgets stay flat. We cut the monographs budget to keep our journal subscriptions current, and when that money runs out, we cut back on serials, too, which also hinders our ability to subscribe to new titles.

Now the Google Settlement encourages us to do the same thing with books.

I think that there is room in the world for print and electronic books to coexist peacefully. But our budgets aren't currently designed for the model set out in the Google Books Settlement, and given our budget situation, aren’t likely to be anytime soon. Our book budgets are designed to buy the bulk of our individual books ONCE. Not to pay for access to those books each year (the way that we do for serials).

Our profession calls rising serials budgets a “crisis.” Encouraging us to convert our books budget model to the same unsustainable economic model that caused a library financial crisis in the first place seems rather counterintutitive.

In short: if we spend what's left of our meager book budgets (public or academic) on access to Google Books, that leaves even LESS for printed books by SFWA members, which will still remain in demand in the short term at the very least.
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#51 Mary Robinette Kowal

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Posted 21 January, 2010 - 11:15 AM

We have a question from Steven Popkes, one of our active members, who asks:

Question: How do reprints get handled by the google settlement? For example, an out of print book is scanned and put on line. At a later date, a reprint of the book is contemplated. What happens to the book on line? What rights does an author have to reprint a book that is now on line?


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#52 Michael Capobianco

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Posted 21 January, 2010 - 11:20 AM

I believe the answer is that an author can remove his or her work from display uses at any time.
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#53 Charlie Stross

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Posted 21 January, 2010 - 11:20 AM

Question: How do reprints get handled by the google settlement? For example, an out of print book is scanned and put on line. At a later date, a reprint of the book is contemplated. What happens to the book on line? What rights does an author have to reprint a book that is now on line?

This appears to be addressed in clauses 31-35 of the FAQ. It is, regrettably, clear as mud; to my first reading it looks as if you can -- if you opt in -- control how and if Google displays your books. Here's the relevant bit:

The Amended Settlement Agreement uses the term Commercially Available, which generally means that a Book is in-print. If a Book is not Commercially Available, that means, in general, that it is Out-of-Print. Google is authorized to make Display Uses and Non-Display Uses of each Book that is not Commercially Available for the term of the U.S. copyright for that Book UNLESS the Rightsholder directs Google not to do so or directs Google to remove the Book. See FAQ35. In contrast, there is no deadline to request exclusion as opposed to removal.

Google may not make any Display Uses of any Commercially Available Book UNLESS the Rightsholder of the Book authorizes Google to include the Book in such uses.

It's not immediately obvious to me how you notify Google that an out-of-print book has just gone back into print.
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#54 Mary Robinette Kowal

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Posted 21 January, 2010 - 11:22 AM

Andrew Burt asks:

Is there any provision in the settlement to alter/update its terms?


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#55 Mary Robinette Kowal

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Posted 21 January, 2010 - 11:24 AM

A lot of Science Fiction and Fantasy writers are short story writers. There's been some confusion about how those are covered as "inserts" under the settlement. Do they really have to claim every instance where a short story is reprinted in an anthology?
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#56 Lou Anders

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Posted 21 January, 2010 - 11:28 AM

That's a good question. As the editor of nine anthologies, do I have a responsibility to contact every single contributor to every single book if I am the only one listed as the books "author" ? Yikes.
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#57 Charlie Stross

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Posted 21 January, 2010 - 11:28 AM

Andrew Burt asks:

Is there any provision in the settlement to alter/update its terms?

This is not covered by Google's FAQ, oddly enough. However: the settlement isn't final yet and hasn't been approved by the court. There's a fairness hearing scheduled for February 18th. You may want to read questions 80-81 of the FAQ for more information.
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#58 Lynne Thomas

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Posted 21 January, 2010 - 11:29 AM

A lot of Science Fiction and Fantasy writers are short story writers. There's been some confusion about how those are covered as "inserts" under the settlement. Do they really have to claim every instance where a short story is reprinted in an anthology?


It depends upon whether a short story counts as an "insert":

"The ASA [Amended Settlement Agreement] clarifies, and thereby arguably narrows, the
definition of such “inserts.” Under the original settlement, the insert had to
“covered by a registration with the United States Copyright Office.” The ASA
clarifies this phrase by adding that the insert had to be registered as a standalone
work or as part of another registered work from which it was excerpted.
(ASA 1.75)

"In other words, if A included in his book an essay by B, and A filed a
copyright registration for his book, B’s essay is not an insert under the settlement
unless B had registered the essay on a stand-alone basis or as part of B’s own
book of essays. If B’s essay is not an insert, B is not entitled to separate
compensation and Google does not have to honor his request to exclude his
essay from displays of the book." [...] "Nonetheless, Google probably would honor such a request because the essay is not covered by the settlement and B could sue Google for infringement if it displayed the full text of the essay."

source: http://www.arl.org/b... ... _part3.pdf
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#59 Michael Capobianco

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Posted 21 January, 2010 - 11:31 AM

Andrew Burt asks:

Is there any provision in the settlement to alter/update its terms?


I saw a couple of places in the settlement where some things, especially regarding future types of commercial exploitation, could be modified; where the Registry was supposed to look at how things were going and modify them to improve on the the settlement defaults, but most of the terms can't be changed.
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#60 Michael Capobianco

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Posted 21 January, 2010 - 11:35 AM

According to most lawyers I've talked to, US published inserts are not part of the settlement unless they have been independently registered with the Copyright Office. If they're not part of it, the settlement is mum about how they're to be treated. Inserts published in the UK, Australia, and Canada do not have to be registered, and they are in the settlement.

My understanding is that the vast majority of short stories and essays written by SFWA members, for example, have not been independently registered, so they're covered only if they were originally published or reprinted in one of the four
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