Sunday, May 16, 2010

Google Editions re: Out-of-Print Proprietary Content

Forget the dead bookstore lead in this article. That's old news. The more important prose relates to Google Editions and the project's plans/hopes for "out of print" proprietary content: "In the beginning, though, it appears that that the only books Google might only be able to sell are those in the public domain. They are still involved in a long-running court battle, trying to get approval to move forward with their plans for Google Books, which would display books that are copyrighted but out-of-print along with with books that have eetered the public domain. Google’s plans had been challenged by the Author’s Guild and the Association of American Publishers. While there was a settlement, it has not been approved as the judge considers objections including some from the Department of Justice, which has concerns over several issues including anti-trust. And even if they get approval, there does seem to be at least one more hurdle — last month several groups representing visual artists announced plans to challenge Google’s plans. Another issue is that it’s being reported that Google does not yet have deals in place with publishers."

My view: Rights for "out of print" proprietary content routinely, per most trade contracts, revert to authors or the heirs. I believe that Google Editions should be required to negotiate rights (cutting individual deals) with authors or their heirs for any works that remain under copyright. Intellectual property continues to be property for the life of copyright. As an author myself, I certainly haven't endowed either the Authors Guild or the AAP with the auathority to allocate/negotiate e-rights in those works of mine for which I personally control e-rights. And as a publisher, I see no problem with doing the right thing by authors.