Google Book Search

A couple of months ago, I received slightly-suspect email about the google book search settlement.

Now I’ve got it on paper, from someone called Rust Consulting, and referencing www.googlebooksettlement.com.  This one makes sense, and looks credible, though I’ll still have to google these folks to check for any suspicion of a scam.

Seems I have the choice to accept the settlement and possibly become eligible for some google-money in return for waiving any right to sue them over copyright, or opt out and retain my rights.  Well, the latter would obviously be nonsense for me as an individual, even if I wanted to sue.  My publisher (a $8-billion company) would have the resources to sue, but that’s not going to happen, nor would I want to get involved if it did.

So I guess that just leaves the question: do I get some google-gold?  The settlement provides for google to make money from books, and pay 63% of that to rightsholders.  But this begs the question: how is that allocated between the author and the publisher?  Our contract obviously doesn’t cover revenues from google, and I’m not sure what general/catchall clauses might apply here.  Other things being equal, it would probably be best if google pays the publisher, and my share gets added to my royalty cheques, to avoid the high cost of cashing a separate dollar-cheque from google.

Whether the same reaction would apply to a professional author – one for whom writing was their main occupation – is a different question.  I’ll leave that to them.

Posted on July 11, 2009, in books, google. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Rust Consulting seems to be the real deal: you can find a reference to them on Google Books’ own server.
    http://books.google.com/booksrightsholders/agreement-contents.html

    If you go with payment via your publisher, I suggest you keep the door open to change that detail periodically (say, review after two years, then at intervals to be determined thereafter), Just In Case. But then, I don’t trust publishers…

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