April 29 – May 7, 2009 Edition

Authors’ Group Seeks Delay
Of Google Opt Out Deadline

NEW YORK, NY/Authorlink News/04/29/09–Attorneys for a group of well known authors-including The Palladin Group for John Steinbeck and Thomas Myles Steinbeck, Catherine Ryan Hyde, The Philip K. Dick Testamentary Trust, Arlo Guthrie, Michael W. Perry, Eugene Linden, and James Rasenberger-have asked U.S District Judge Denny Chin to delay the May 5 deadline for opting in or out of the Google Book Search settlement.

The motion, filed April 24, seeks a four-month postponement of the May 5 deadline and a corresponding extension of the final settlement/fairness hearing now scheduled for June 11, 2009.

Attorney Andrew DeVore, representing the author group, said in a letter to the judge that “the scope of the proposed settlement is unprecedented. For authors who do not opt out, the settlement if approved would impose a complex scheme for the wholesale allocation of rights and remedies, and compensation for exploitation of those rights, in the digital world. And it would cement that scene in perpetuity in an area of commerce that has seen explosive growth in just the last few years. . . “

DeVore said this is not a typical class action settlement, in which parties decide whether value offered in settlement is sufficient to compensate them for a past injury-it is a decision about perpetual future rights.

He said that if approved, the settlement would “bind nearly every copyright owner of every book currently under copyright ever published almost anywhere in the world.”

Notice only began in January, DeVore noted, a “woefully inadequate” period of time in which to “digest the extraordinarily complex settlement agreement and attempt to gauge its potential present and long-term future implications in a vital marketplace.” Further, DeVore suggested such notice was clearly defective, because a dearth of “readily identifiable” authors remain unaware of the settlement’s requirements and that even “tech-savvy” authors and copyright experts that have received notice-including US Register of Copyrights Marybeth Peters-are struggling to understand components of the settlement.

Michael Boni, attorney for the publishers’ sub-class in the lawsuit settlement said the authors’ complaint was without merit and asked the court to reject it. He said, however, that the plantiffs and Google may be amenable to a 60-day extension.

Editor’s Note: The lawyers representing the publishers subclass and the authors subclass are largely being paid by Google, rather than by the Association of American Publishers and the Authors Guild, who filed the suit.