The Google Book Settlement opting-0ut deadline is upon us: by September 4 you must decide whether you’re in or out. Staying in means allowing Google to digitize and own (for distribution purposes) your copyrighted works, for which you will be compensated (via a registry and your publishers) what remains of the approximately $60 per book after any fees or percentages have been deducted.
The dissenting voices in the Writers Union of Canada (TWUC) have offered the following view, relevant bits excerpted:
Google controls all the information and, there is no auditing system in place to prove their numbers.
It would be a minimum of five years before any money is received.
By opting in (or doing nothing), writers give Google non-exclusive rights to copyrighted material.
There are other electronic options [besides] Google [–and these might better compensate copyright holders].
To opt out… access Google online but no proof of receipt is generated from this. …a registered letter should also be mailed to Google. As an additional safeguard …a separate letter should also be written to Google, telling them that they do not have the rights to digitize your material without your express permission.
For future contracts… an “out of print” clause should be added to protect copyrighted material.
Some internal discussion points out that the settlement addresses past wrongs (the unauthorized digitization of copyrighted works) but frees Google to sail ahead unrestricted in future, which seems hardly fair to the people who’ve worked so hard to create those works. And that other electronic options besides Google may afford the possibility of earning more than the pittance Google offers.