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Advise Authors and Publishers About Google Book Settlement

By Elizabeth T Russell • Mar 12th, 2009 • Category: Newest Post, Sports & Entertainment Law

If you counsel a book author, book publisher or any other person who owns a copyright in a “Book” or an “Insert,” a class action settlement regarding Google’s practice of scanning and displaying in-copyright works might affect your client’s rights.

If you haven’t heard about the Google Book Settlement, visit the settlement website and get up to speed. Do this sooner rather than later, as important deadlines are approaching.

Here’s a quick summary about what has happened.

Google scanned in-copyright books and displayed excerpts from them as part of its Google Book Search service. Google did this without permission of the copyright owners, in the belief that its actions qualified as fair use. The copyright owners (authors and publishers) sued for copyright infringement.

Two years of negotiations followed, until October 2008 when the parties announced a settlement agreement. The proposed settlement affects all members of the class: authors and publishers of “Books” or “Inserts” that were published or distributed in hard copy format on or before January 5, 2009, and which have been registered with the US Copyright Office.

It’s very likely that most book authors and publishers are members of the class.

The settlement terms have to be approved by the court, and a hearing for that purpose has been set for June 11, 2009. However: two important deadlines come before then, on May 5, 2009.

  • If a class member wishes to opt out entirely, and preserve his/her right to sue Google individually, they must do so by May 5, 2009.
  • If a class member wishes to comment or object to the settlement, they must do so by May 5, 2009.
  • If a class member qualifies for a cash payment, they must file a claim by January 5, 2010.

This is a very big deal. Learn all you can, understand that your clients have decisions to make, and help spread the word to other authors and publishers.

Elizabeth T Russell is is a solo practitioner. Russell Law helps businesses protect their most important assets by focusing on intellectual property issues, specifically copyright, trademark and internet law. Elizabeth also enjoys a vibrant arts and entertainment law practice. You can contact Elizabeth at: Phone: (608) 285-5007 E-mail: [email protected] Website: www.erklaw.com Address: 49 Kessel Court, Suite 200, Madison WI 53711
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