September 4, 2009: Google Book Settlement Opt Out Date
- Monday, August 24, 2009
As we have been advising you, the 'opt-out' date for the Google Settlement is September 4, 2009. That is the last date that you can choose to be covered by this settlement. If you opt-out, which must be in writing, it means you reserve the right to sue or negotiate with Google for the use of your copyrighted works on your own.
The Authors Guild, which negotiated the terms of the settlement with Google has strongly encouraged authors to participate in the settlement. There is a very thorough question and answer page at the Author’s Guild site: http://www.authorsguild.org/advocacy/articles/should-i-opt-out.html. Meanwhile, agencies like William Morris have hotly debated this point of view, urging their clients to opt out of the settlement and reserve the right to sue Google on their own.
While SCBWI cannot tell you which course to take, we recommend that you take some time to understand the issues involved, and hope that the following information will make the terms of the settlement more clear.
The settlement is the result of a lawsuit brought by publishers and authors who argued that Google was violating their copyright by scanning books. The settlement gives Google the right to digitize those books (whether in-print, out of print, or public domain), and sell them either as part of databases or individually. This means that Google has the legal right to digitize all books written to date that are still in copyright. Orphan works (those books which are still in copyright but whose authors cannot be located) is a large part of this database. For books that are copyrighted but out-of-print, Google may show 20% of the book online and sell digital copies of it, keeping 37 percent. For books in-print and copyrighted, Google may scan the books, use them for research, but must seek permission to use them further. A newly created Books Rights Registry (controlled by authors’ and publishers’ representatives—not Google) will administer royalties. In short, copyright holders who agree to the settlement have the right to determine how Google displays content from the books, and may ask Google not to sell them.
TO REGISTER YOURSELF AS A CLAIMANT:
- Go to http://www.googlebooksettlement.com (NOTE: You may also request a paper claim form by calling 1-888-356-0248 or writing to: Settlement Administrator, c/o Rust Consulting, Inc., PO Box 9364, Minneapolis, MN 55440-9364 USA.)
- Click “Claim books and inserts,” and create a personal account following the specific instructions as prompted (you’ll need an address and email).
- Once you’ve created an account, you can search the database of scanned titles by author, title, or ISBN. Searching your name will probably be the most efficient way for you to claim your books. Inserts (content from one book that is used in another book authored by someone other than the rights holder) can also be claimed by uploading the content that was likely to have been used and searching.
- Based on the search terms, Google will populate a list of books they have scanned. Click the box next to each title that you wish to claim, then click continue.
- You will be asked to review your pending claims, fill in the print status of the book (whether or not the rights have been reverted to you), and certify that you are the author rights holder of said book(s). Once you’ve done so, click submit claim.
- Once your claim has been submitted, it will be processed and a check will be sent to you directly at the address you’ve provided.
- By registering, you will also have the ability to stipulate how your titles appear on books.google.com. You have three options for every title:
- You can ask them to remove your book entirely from the database, which is permanent and irrevocable.
- You can keep your book in the database, but ask that Google not display your book in any form. This way you can decide to display your book in the future.
- You can allow display rights and manage how your book is used. Again, you can change how you display the book at any time. Display options are as follows:
i. Public Access License – Makes your book available at public libraries only, with the capability to print out for a fee per page.
ii. Preview License – Anyone in the USA can search terms and find the page in your book where those terms appear, with only 20% of the book available. Small sums will be accrued from advertisements.
iii. Buy Online Edition – A non-downloadable e-book edition with the capability to print out. This access will generate between $1.99 and $20.99 (median $5.99), a price that the author/publisher can change later.
iv. Institutional Subscription – E-book made available to any institution that buys access to the database (i.e. universities, etc.), with the capability to print out. The institution would pay a flat fee, which would be distributed to rights-holders in two ways:
1. A straight $200 inclusion fee for any book included in the database;
2. A potential additional pro-rated fee depending on how much the material is accessed as a whole of the entire database.
(Please note that the Buy Online and Institutional Subscription are linked, and you must approve both or neither.)
- Google will pay 63% of the money generated through display rights uses to the Book Rights Registry, who, after retaining an administrative fee (estimated 10% to 20%), will disperse the money to the appropriate rights-holders. The money generated from display rights will be further broken down depending on whether the book is in print or not:
- If the book is out of print and the rights have reverted to the author, the author receives 100% of the income, minus the Registry’s fee.
- If the book is out of print but the rights have not been reverted to the author, the income is split 50/50 between the author and the publisher.
- If the book is out of print and the rights have not been reverted to the author, but it is an older title published before 1987, the income is split 65/35 between the author and the publisher (author’s favor).
- If the book is in print, the split between the publisher and the author depends on the contract terms for electronic and display rights.
TO OPT-OUT OF THE SETTLEMENT:
- Visit this link: http://www.googlebooksettlement.com/r/enter_opt_out
- Fill out the requested information (contact, book info, etc.)
- Click the “Opt Out of the Settlement” button.