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#61 Mary Robinette Kowal

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Posted 21 January, 2010 - 11:35 AM

I told you that I would only keep you for 90 minutes and you've all been wonderful.

I'd particularly like to thank to Paul Aiken for coming in and joining us. Though this is a contentious topic, it's important to remember that the Authors Guild had the balls to sue Google in the first place. Even if the settlement isn't perfect, if they hadn't stepped in, Google would have been scanning without any protests.

We'll wrap up by giving you a chance to post any closing remarks that you want to really make sure our audience hears. Then, I'll point them to a series of links that might be helpful in trying to make a decision about whether to opt-in or opt-out by January 28th.

Again, thank you all.
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#62 Paul Aiken

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Posted 21 January, 2010 - 11:36 AM

Oops. I see I've been replying as a "private message" to many posts.

Not sure how to quickly fix that.
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#63 Charlie Stross

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Posted 21 January, 2010 - 11:38 AM

No closing remarks from me, other than: read the FAQ for further information.

Thank you all, and good night.
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#64 Paul Aiken

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Posted 21 January, 2010 - 11:39 AM

I guess we'll get those re-posted.

For anyone whose questions weren't answered, we'll have a conference call that you can take part in. The sign up for that will appear tomorrow at our website http://www.authorsguild.org.
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#65 Paul Aiken

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Posted 21 January, 2010 - 11:39 AM

Thanks everyone. Hope it was helpful.
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#66 Mary Robinette Kowal

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Posted 21 January, 2010 - 11:40 AM

Oops. I see I've been replying as a "private message" to many posts.

Not sure how to quickly fix that.


Whoops! I can paste them in here afterwards so folks can read your replies. I know you have another meeting coming up.

And having you here was very helpful.
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#67 Lynne Thomas

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Posted 21 January, 2010 - 11:41 AM

Thanks for listening. It was an honor to be able to participate today.
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#68 Lou Anders

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Posted 21 January, 2010 - 11:42 AM

Thanks for inviting me to take part!
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#69 Paul Aiken

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Posted 21 January, 2010 - 11:44 AM


The Book Rights Registry will be controlled solely by authors and publishers (not Google) and will charge an administrative fee to cover its costs.


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!

Cheers!
~ Peter West



The fee will be a percentage and has to be reasonable. Exactly what it will be no one can say, until we know how much money is flowing through the Registry and what it's expenses are. The Authors Registry charges a 5% fee, but pays out about $2 million per year. The Book Rights Registry will be paying much larger amounts (by all accounts) so the fees may be different.
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#70 Paul Aiken

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Posted 21 January, 2010 - 11:46 AM

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.



Amending the settlement wouldn't be a simple process. However, nothing in the settlement prevents an author from taking advantage of new business models that might arise. Simply turn off uses under the settlement and enter into any deal one wants. If you want to enter into a non-exclusive agreement, you can leave the settlement uses on.
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#71 Michael Capobianco

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Posted 21 January, 2010 - 11:48 AM

The worst thing any author can do in regard to the settlement is nothing. You will lose your rights and your money. At least read Attachment A: Author-Publisher Procedures http://www.googleboo...ement_agreement for yourself, and there are many good sources of information on the web. I recommend http://www.laboratorium.netas a handy clearing house of opinions both pro and con.

If you do decide to opt out, you must do so before January 28. The link is http://www.googleboo...r/enter_opt_out and it's relatively easy to do. You are not obligated to make list your books and inserts to opt out.

Thanks for attending, everyone, and I hope this has been helpful.
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#72 Paul Aiken

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Posted 21 January, 2010 - 11:49 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.


You would simply notify the Book Rights Registry on your rights management screen that your book is back in print.
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#73 Paul Aiken

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Posted 21 January, 2010 - 11:51 AM


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.


Also contrary to popular belief, this settlement affects a lot more than the United States -- in coming to a globally applicable settlement with the Authors Guild, Google have implicitly decided to extend US jurisdiction to copyrights worldwide (as in: they've decided that the GBS gives them global clearance to digitize books). It's interesting to note what the French courts think of this.



The settlement doesn't give Google global clearance to digitize books. We agree with the French court's decision, by the way. That's why we sued Google in the first place.
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#74 Paul Aiken

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Posted 21 January, 2010 - 11:52 AM

Paul, I think one of the things you have underestimated is how important non-monetary considerations are to a lot of writers, and how they feel this has undermined their rights as an author. They want respect as well as money.


We said (through our lawsuit): Google you've infringed our rights, you have no rights to those scans. Through the settlement, authors get control of those scans and the right to earn money off of them. You have every right to choose to not make money off of this settlement and opt out, but it's not in your economic interest.

These things happen in business all the time, especially with patents, another form of intellectual property. The patent holder sues an infringer, then winds up settling, giving a license to the infringer. This may, in some sense, be seen as rewarding the infringer, who can then make money off the license, but the patent holder wins, too. The rights of the intellectual property holder are vindicated.

The settlement is pragmatic and clearly in writers' economic interests.
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#75 Paul Aiken

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Posted 21 January, 2010 - 11:53 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. 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.



We, of course, disagree. If serials had provided a free terminal in every public library building, and to every university, the economics of subscriptions would have been radically different.

You purchase physical books and have the continuous right to lend them out. The settlement doesn't change that. It just extends every library's collection to include a vast number of out-of-print books at no charge.
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#76 Paul Aiken

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Posted 21 January, 2010 - 11:55 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.


It's not us you're telling, it's the claims administrator. But, yes, you have the right to opt out. We think it's not in your interest to do so.
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#77 Lynne Thomas

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Posted 21 January, 2010 - 11:57 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. 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.



We, of course, disagree. If serials had provided a free terminal in every public library building, and to every university, the economics of subscriptions would have been radically different.

You purchase physical books and have the continuous right to lend them out. The settlement doesn't change that. It just extends every library's collection to include a vast number of out-of-print books at no charge.


Yes, on one terminal that has exceedingly limited download and printing access for patrons. With additional restrictions on electronic reserves, interlibrary loan, and other essential library functions that can be fulfilled with the paper copies of those same books.

It may be free, but it's not unlimited access by any means.
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#78 Mary Robinette Kowal

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Posted 21 January, 2010 - 12:01 PM

Thanks, Lynne, I was wondering if I should paste that in as well.

And, that's all, folks.

Thanks again for joining us. I encourage you to visit these links for more information about the settlement.

Google Book Settlement website
The Google Book Settlement's FAQ
A two page overview of the Settlement by the Authors Guild, in pdf
The amended settlement, pdf
The Authors Guild
SFWA's official position on the Google Book Settlement
Open Book Alliance
The Public Index has a very good overview and a series of links.

Again, thank you all. If anyone wants to continue the conversation, please feel free to hop over to Post-panel Chatter.
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#79 Michael Capobianco

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Posted 25 January, 2010 - 11:49 AM

As an addendum, I wanted to post a clarification on how author payments will be made, following up on the statement I made during the panel that authors with books that still have publishers might get as little as $15 of the $60 per book payment.

Paul Aiken told me that the author's payment would be made directly to the author, and so no money would be deducted by the publisher. Which sounds good until you look closely at Attachment A: Author-Publisher procedures. Article VI details how payments will work, laying out the percentages, etc. There's a large omission, unfortunately. Although 6.2(iv) says:

(iv) The Publisher will not owe splits or royalties to the Author
on the revenues remitted to the Publisher by the Registry under this Section 6.2.


there's no corresponding section guaranteeing the same for the author. So, even though the author's share (50% for books published after 1986) may be paid directly to the author, the publisher may still demand some of that payment according to the author-publisher contract still in effect. If the book hasn't earned out, they may demand all of the payment.

It's also true that they may not, but nothing I can find in the settlement specifies one way or another. It's yet another example of how any author who opts in is going to have to trust that things are handled in an author friendly way.
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