Reject The Google Book Search Settlement!

August 10, 2009

William Morris Advises Clients to Say No to Google Settlement

“Now they’ve got this license to sell your books at a pre-negotiated one-time royalty that you’re stuck with unless a court changes the settlement,” Eric Zohn, an attorney in business affairs at William Morris, said in an interview. “It’s like a legislative change. Under copyright law, you don’t have anything without express written consent from the copyright holder. Now the court is saying Google is free to sell your book unless you expressly tell them not to.

Emphasis added by me.

Opt-out, opt-out, opt-out!

The shortsightedness of writers will come back to haunt them for the rest of their miserable lives (and those lives are guaranteed to be miserable by opting-in!).

Who other than Google has been rushing towards this idea?

Show me the single writer who ever said, “Gee, it’d be nice if the full-text of my book was available free for anyone in the world to read via Google. Just think of all the bills I’d never be able to pay again!”

Show me the dying dinosaur of print publisher who ever said anywhere at any time, “You know, let’s just give away the history of our company, let’s just grab all of this backlist and throw it away! Or better yet: let’s allow someone else to get rich from it!”

Show me the agent who ever declared, “I’d really like to put myself out of business by helping to destroy the publishing industry in its entirety!”

Stop this madness!

There has been no societal or writer or even corporate impulse to do what Google wants to do. There has only been Google!

Let me show you what having foresight means. Actress Audrey Meadows played Ralph Kramden’s wife on the 1950s TV series, The Honeymooners. Out of the entire cast, she was the only one with a contract to specify rerun royalties.

Audrey Meadows was the only cast member whose contract had a royalty clause. Her brother was a lawyer.

Her brother was smart! He dared to ask, “What IF?”

Audrey Meadows never had to take another job for the rest of her life!

Now contrast that to a personal idol of mine, TV producer extraordinaire Gerry Anderson. He sold his rights to the Supermarionation television series he produced in the 1960s. He never figured there would ever be a repeat market for them. Was he wrong!

Thunderbirds creator fighting to reclaim rights from ITV

Thunderbirds creator Gerry Anderson has made a public plea to ITV bosses to return the rights to his iconic 60s puppet show, after being locked in a legal battle.

Here is a man who created iconic television programs that are still watched decades later, that still create new product licensees virtually perpetually, and he is locked out of his own creations! In his own biography, he admits to being just about penniless at one point! Penniless!

Money started to run out and Gerry found himself living on the breadline.

Every writer has this ask this question right now: What kind of life do I want to live? One like Audrey Meadows, or one like Gerry Anderson?

Stop being shortsighted! There is a larger future for books than just being books!

Google knows that! You should too.