Thursday, January 07, 2010

SFWA, NWU, and ASJA on Google Books Settlement

Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware

The National Writers Union, the American Society of Journalists and Authors, and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America have written to their author peers in Congress, seeking their support in encouraging the Department of Justice to continue its opposition to the Google Books Settlement.

The text of the letter is embedded below. The Los Angeles Times reports that Google has declined to address the letter's concerns, and the Authors Guild did not respond to a request for comment.

Writers to Congressional Authors

6 comments:

Jean L. Cooper said...

Is there a specific address at the Dept. of Justice to which any of us opposed to the Google Books Settlement can send letters?

S.M. Carrière said...

I second that Jean.
Though I'm in Canada, the precedence this will set is extremely vexing, not to mention how much I want to support my fellow writers wherever they are in the world. I would like to write also.

estara said...

Have you seen this call to arms yet?
Le Guin on the Google Settlement

Victoria Strauss said...

Estara, yes, I have seen Ms. Le Guin's post.

Jean, some letters to the DOJ are linked in on The Public Index, which has been keeping track of documents in the Settlement. You should be able to find the address there.

Frances Grimble said...

If you've seen the Author's Guild's letter in reply to Ursula LeGuin, it's totally bogus.

The AG claims that they could have lost the original suit, which was only about Google displaying "snippets," instead of the later 300+ page Settlement/contract setting Google up as a publishing company. The AG claims that if they had lost that suit instead of agreeing to the Settlement, that everyone could have displayed "snippets" of everything and untold harm would have been done to copyright. The AG claims they therefore actually protected copyright by agreeing to the Settlement.

It is true the AG might have lost that suit; they also might have won it. However, the original "snippets" legal issue has been bypassed entirely by the Settlement. No legal precedent whatever has been set in regard to "snippets." Thus, everyone can _still_ try to scan works without permission to display "snippets," and wait to get sued, just like Google did originally.

N.T. said...

Thanks for posting this and for the link you've provided in the comment above for protest letters. I strongly object to the settlement and the precedence. I am also offended by Google's rhetoric, for instance, a recent editorial in the New York Times, in which they attempt to present this whole project as an altruistic public service. I notice they are not similarly generous about publishing their own proprietary code and other intellectual property belonging to their company.