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The Google deal discussion

By Op-Ed Editor | April 20, 2009

ALAI Canada (wierdly enough that’s the acronym for the Canadian Literary and Artistic Association) is hosting a discussion of the Google deal on Wednesday.
ALAI CANADA

Toronto Luncheon Meeting
Wednesday, April 22, 2009

WHITHER GOOGLE AND THE BOOK BUSINESS?
Speakers: Catherine A. Campbell, lawyer and publishing consultant
Christopher Moore, writer and historian
Date: Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Lunch: 12:00 pm
Program: 12:30 pm – 1:45 pm
Place: Access Copyright boardroom, Suite 800, One Yonge
Street, Toronto M5E 1E5
(Toronto Star building, one stop south of Union Station on the LRT)

Cost: Non-members – $35.00 Members – $25.00 Creators – $15.00

The topic for discussion is the settlement of a class action in the United States against Google, brought by authors (with the backing of the Authors’ Guild) for copyright infringement and a separate lawsuit brought by five American publishers, backed by the American Publishers Association, raising the same issues. Millions of copyright books including Canadian books found in U.S. libraries were digitized by Google without authorization from the rightsholders. The settlement agreement between the Authors Guild, the Association of American Publishers and Google is subject to a “fairness hearing” by a U.S. District Court (Southern New York) starting on June 11, 2009. The settlement has been criticized for pre-empting what is more appropriately dealt with by legislation and for being anti-competitive. Rightsholders may opt out of the settlement until May 5, 2009, but is there a benefit beyond maintaining their right to sue Google themselves? Those who don’t opt out can remove their books entirely from all servers up until April 5, 2011 and terminate specific commercial uses later at any time. The settlement will set up a Book Rights Registry in the U.S. to collect revenues from Google for commercial uses and pay rightsholders. Is this settlement good or bad for rightsholders, readers, researchers and libraries? Where do Canadian books fit into this? What are the ripple effects for copyright revision and the emerging e-book market in Canada?

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