Monday, August 24, 2009

Judging a Digitized Book Settlement by its Cover

We've followed the brouhaha surrounding the proposed settlement of the Google digitized books class action with some interest. (A pdf of the 2005 complaint filed by the Authors Guild can be found at

A Washington Post editorial has good summary of the settlement here.

Earlier, this month, the William Morris Agency advised its clients to object to the proposed settlement, and a flurry of letters, rebuttals, and rebuttals of rebuttals flew between William Morris and the Authors Guild. See coverage here, here, here, and here.

It's no real surprise that literary agents, publishers, and authors have concerns about the potential effect of the settlement. The dueling correspondence between Willaim Morris and the Authors Guild focuses on protecting the rights of authors.

It's not even a surprise that the Justice Department is investigating the settlement, citing possible antitrust concerns.

To us, the surprise was the news that Microsoft, Amazon, and Yahoo plan to join the Open Book Alliance, a coalition of nonprofits, individual authors, and libraries that is forming to oppose the settlement.