Google settles legal woes with creation of $125m Book Rights Registry

04 Dic Google settles legal woes with creation of $125m Book Rights Registry

Information World Review, UK, By Tracey Caldwell, December 3, 2008
Google has agreed to pay out $125m after authors and publishers took exception to the search company helping itself to their work and is preparing to digitise several million more books. The USsettlement will have an immediate impact on copyright holders worldwide while the longer-term implications for UK librarians and information professionals are still being unravelled. The proposed $125m settlement will fund the creation of a Book Rights Registry, to settle legal claims by authors and publishers whose work is included among the seven million books already scanned by Google, and to cover legal fees. Google has advised UK publishers and authors to assume they own a US copyright interest in their books. At present the agreement does not affect users outside the US, but this state of affairs is subject to change. Google says it is “committed to working with rights holders, governments and relevant institutions to bring the same opportunities to users, authors and publishers in other countries”. If the New York court agrees the settlement, then Google will sell subscriptions to the database of scanned books, which are in copyright but out of print, allowing readers in the US to search, preview up to 20% of a book and buy it online. Revenue from advertising on any web pages dedicated to a single book, will be split 63/37 between the rights holder and Google. Google will also offer a hosted version of books for use on the rights holder’s website. The Book Rights Registry will be managed by authors and publishers, and locate and represent copyright holders. After the initial Google funding from the settlement, the Registry will be funded by a percentage of revenues received from Google. Mark Cardin, vice president of Myilibrary provider Ingram Micro, says: “Although it is only a USsettlement I think it is going to set a precedent or standard worldwide. The business model is going to become a paradigm for ev erybody. “I think librarians who are paying attention to this are greatly concerned about access. Although it is said to be free, there will be pressure on libraries to supply additional access: it sounds like a huge free gift, but it’s not. “There are real concerns about privacy too. It is bad enough Google knowing about everything your searching without it knowing about everything you read, so there is a lot of concern about privacy as well as monopoly.”