Tuesday, November 17, 2009

ALCS backs Google Book Settlement

The Authors' Licensing and Collection Service (ALCS) has expressed support for the Google Book Settlement, reports Murad Ahmed in The Times.
The ALCS said that more than 20,000 British authors, whose books formed part of the service, could profit. Authors will receive a lump sum of at least $60 for allowing digital copies of their books to be made. They will then receive the majority of proceeds from any online sales via Google Books and also get about two thirds from other online book sales. Google will take the rest.

Rights holders will be able to set the price for the book on the service, but if they do not, Google said that it will use a “pricing algorithm” to calculate the cost of the book. The ALCS said that the move will provide “an important source of revenue” for out-of-print authors.
However, ALCS Honorary President (and former Writers' Guild President), Maureen Duffy, has stressed that only the revisions to the deal won by the American Authors' Guild have made it acceptable.
She said that as the author of over 30 books, she “know[s] authors want their works to be read widely; it’s also important that they receive a fair payment for this. It is after all through these and other payments that writers are able to write and create more works for you to enjoy. I believe the settlement will deliver this and furthermore, it will give writers control on the pricing and availability of their work through the Book Rights Registry - a body that will be governed equally by authors and publishers in partnership.”
The Writers' Guild has already published advice to members likely to be affected by the deal and is interested in working with other writers' organisations to see it extended to the UK.

A dispute over the Settlement is still progressing through the American courts.

Update: There's a good summary of some of the issues relating to the Google Book Settlement on the BBC dot.life blog.

1 comment:

  1. Diana Kimpton9:58 pm

    Google has only put aside 35 million to set up the Book Registry and that fund also has to pay for the cost of notifying class members about the settlement. Once that money has gone, the administrative costs of the Registry will be deducted from the money earned by rightsholders and only the amount left will be passed on. As there is no limit on the amount The Book Registry can pay out on administration (including transatlantic travel for non-US board members and any perks/expenses the board members and staff decide to award themselves), there is no guarantee that authors will receive anything at all.

    The Google Book Settlement stinks. It breaks the Berne Convention and rewards piracy.


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