Reject The Google Book Search Settlement!

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.

4 Responses to Reject The Google Book Search Settlement!

  1. Anonymous says:

    William Morris is wrong:

    http://www.authorsguild.org/advocacy/articles/william-morriss-google-memo-off.html

    Somebody stepping forward to publish currently-available works is a good thing. Having Google as the only entity empowered to do so is somewhat questionable, but the goal is good.

    Also, your examples, from a broad perspective, are just awful. They indicate how copyright law, when handled poorly, can encourage stagnation in artists. Audrey Meadows never had to work again while Gerry Anderson went on to be a "producer extraordinaire", a "personal idol" of yours? I say Nay to extended copyrights and royalties then!

  2. Mike Cane says:

    Your pro-AG pimping would have had at least a wee bit of cred as a statement in itself had you not chosen anonymity.

    The AG are a bunch of dinosaurs who by sheer luck have been granted the power to negotiate on behalf of others they would never permit into their exclusive club.

    The AG must be slapped down and the GBS Settlement killed, period.

    And based on your closing paragraph, you should stop listening to talk radio. It seems you are untutored in this thing called Real Life.

  3. Logan Kennelly says:

    (As for the quality of your examples, I am attempting to help you build better arguments in the future. If you don't understand that many people see copyright for its original intent, to enhance public works, then your opinions won't gain much weight. I believe that if a work of art is going to generate money then most of the money should go to the artists that contributed to the popularity of the work (as opposed to whomever is currently in charge at the original publishing company). Your examples seem to completely miss these key points, though.)

    I agree that the Author's Guild should have no right to negotiate on behalf of others. That doesn't mean they are incorrect.

    Nothing I have read, other than the William Morris article, indicates that it is one-time payment or non-negotiable. The bigger question is whether works should be allowed to be lost to time? I'm glad that someone will be empowered to preserve unavailable works of art for the public, and even happier that money earned, from both direct sales and advertising, will be shared with the original artist.

    I suppose I'm not certain whether you are against the idea of saving abandoned works, if you have a problem with the party saving them, or whether you are concerned about specific details of the deal. Do you think the government should stay out of the rights of copyright holders? (A situation which is ridiculous on its face.)

    Let's put it another way. You are in charge of copyright law in this country. How do you handle the situation of out-of-print works?

  4. Mike Cane says:

    >>>I suppose I'm not certain whether you are against the idea of saving abandoned works, if you have a problem with the party saving them, or whether you are concerned about specific details of the deal.

    Concentration of the world's knowledge into one corporation's hands can not end well.

    >>>Do you think the government should stay out of the rights of copyright holders? (A situation which is ridiculous on its face.)

    Uh, Copyright is a government function. Just ask Disney and Mickey Mouse. And Sonny Bono.

    >>>Let's put it another way. You are in charge of copyright law in this country. How do you handle the situation of out-of-print works?

    What do you mean by OOP? Public domain is one thing, but unless a writer and all of his/her heirs have dropped dead, there is no such thing as an "Orphan Work." Given the poor job print publishers do — for example, few have had ongoing inventories of their works — I don't think any of them would expend the effort/money required to "de-orphan" so-called "orphan works."

    Given that, let government step in and void all publishing contracts prior to, for example, 1980. Strip the publishers for their poor stewardship and let it be firmly established *first* that books belong to their *writers*, not to publishers and not to Google or to the AG. That's a good starting point.

    And the one question *you* have to answer: What the hell is the RUSH to get this Google thing going? WHO says it has to be done NOW NOW NOW?

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