Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Is Google Book Settlement a rip-off?

In The Wall Street Journal, Lynn Chu argues that the copyright deal reached by Google and industry 'representatives' in America threatens to undermine fundamental principles.
We already have a good system. It's called the system of private property and free contract, designed for dispersed, autonomous individuals -- not command-and-control centers. The U.S. Constitution grants authors small monopolies in their own copyrights. Author market power is talent-based and individual, not collective. This class action seeks to wipe all this out -- just for Google. But U.S. law does not grant any single publisher monopoly power to herd all of us into its list.

For private gain, the Google parties now seek to destroy the health in the system that individual bargaining preserves. Disputes will be fixed in arbitration with no access to federal courts which have often shown mercy to authors. Arbitrators will be "you sign it you eat it" line-parsing bureaucrats.

Say goodbye to your rights, forever, authors, if this mess goes through.

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