Thursday, November 6, 2008

Pat Schroeder - News from the Publishing World

The most interesting part of Pat Schroeder's talk was about the Google settlement. The case was many years in the making, and the settlement is so complex, with ramifications for publishers, authors, Google, and libraries. Schroeder believes this case will be studied in law schools for years to come.

It's a win-win for all constituencies, she believes. The settlement opens up the content of about 7 million books that are still under copyright but not commercially available (1920's forward). Most books in this category are considered out-of-print, so copyright has reverted to the author.

Under this agreement, authors get $60 per book digitized. They can choose to take the $60 and opt out; if they do so their book will be digitized but it cannot be displayed to users. Or, authors can choose to stay in, which means they will allow their titles to be viewed, printed, and sold. Also, their titles may be sold via subscriptions, and advertising may be sold and placed around the book (not within it). The expectation is that most rights holders will leave their content in and make it accessible.

Public access license: one license for every public library in the U.S, and one license to every college and university. The license allows the printing of books, and licensees must charge page charges. Google will facilitate the money handling. (The mechanics clearly have to be worked out.) [Not clear about "one license" concept: what will it mean for universities? What does it mean that a public library has "one license?"]

A registry will be established to manage fees. Google will absorb the costs of establishing the registry. The registry will hire an executive director, and be run by a board of four authors and four publisher representatives.

Important point: The digitized books will NOT include photographs or illustrations, as their copyright owners were not part of this class action suit.

They're still working on provisions for orphan works. If it is determined that there is no rights holder, then Google will pay $60 into the registry, and the title will be digitized. If no one claims the rights within five years, the registry will "own" the rights.

The settlement applies only to the United States; digitized works can only be displayed within the States. A title by a British author (who opts in) held by a US library cannot be displayed in the UK.

A "fairness" hearing during the Summer of 2009 will finalize the settlement.

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