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Amendments to Google Settlement Posted Online

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December 17 – December 24, 2009 Edition

Amendments to Google Settlement Posted Online

MOUNTAINVIEW, CA/DALLAS/AUTHORLINK NEWS/12/16/09–Google has posted amendments on its website for the Book Search Settlement case after a U.S. District Court granted preliminary approval of the case on November 19, 2009. The class action agreement affects virtually every author and publisher both in the US and abroad, so all who may be affected are strongly urged to read the Supplemental Notice, available at http://www.googlebooksettlement.com/Supplemental-Notice.pdf

The deadline to claim books and inserts for cash payments under the settlement has been extended from January 5, 2010 to March 31, 2011. The deadline for which authors and publishers can remove their titles from the settlement has been extended from April 5, 2011 to March 9, 2012. (The Removal deadline as to the libraries’ digital copies remains April 5, 2011.)

The highly controversial $125 million pending Google settlement, brought in behalf of authors and publishers by The Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers, has far-reaching implications, not only for books published prior to January 5, 2009, but for all subsequently published books. The settlement compensates authors (at about $60 per title over a five year payout period) for Google’s illegal scanning of their titles. Partly as an unintended result of the lawsuit, Google has become a sort of de facto model for digital publishing rights. The newly-installed Book Rights Registry, initially funded by Google itself, becomes the centralized clearing house for most of those rights, though some of its powers have been slightly reduced after a Justice Department investigation into the case required certain revisions. The document now posted at Google details those changes.

Basically, opting in (for payment) will mean the author waives all rights to sue Google for future wrongdoing. Opting out means the author will retain rights to sue. If the author does nothing, he/she will be automatically opted into the settlement, according to settlement lawyers. However, other legal counselors say the settlement has no legal authority to automatically opt people into the case.

The Court will hold a Fairness Hearing on February 18, 2010 at 10 a.m. in Courtroom 11A of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, United States Courthouse, 500 Pearl Street, New York, NY 10007, to consider whether the Amended Settlement, as set forth in the ASA, is fair, adequate and reasonable.