NOTE: The FTC is currently reviewing this, so dates might change. This mainly applies to out-of-print books that may have been in various libraries and scanned by Google. At this time, it doesn't cover books still in print.
There are concerns in some quarters that the settlement as written gives Google too great of scope over disposition of electronic books. This is one of the things the FTC is studying. However, in general, the settlement provides a one-time payment for copyright owners whose books have already been scanned into Google Library plus the option for later payment by allowing them to maintain the file and sell digital copies.
Updated Summary Notice: New Opt-Out/Objection Deadline is September 4, 2009
If You Are a Book Author, Book Publisher or Other Person Who Owns a Copyright in a Book or Other Writing, Your rights may be affected by a class action settlement regarding Google's scanning and use of Books and other writings.
Persons Outside the United States: This settlement may affect you because it covers U.S. copyright interests in books published outside the United States. If you hold such an interest in a book or other material in a book, this settlement will bind you unless you timely opt out.
Authors and publishers filed a class action lawsuit, claiming Google violated the copyrights of authors, publishers and other copyright holders ("Rightsholders") by scanning in-copyright Books and Inserts, and displaying excerpts, without permission. Google denies the claims. The parties have agreed to a settlement. This summary provides basic information about the settlement. "Books" and "Inserts" are described below.
What Does the Settlement Provide?
The settlement, if Court-approved, will authorize Google to scan in-copyright Books and Inserts in the United States, and maintain an electronic database of Books. For out-of-print Books and, if permitted by Rightsholders of in-print Books, Google will be able to sell access to individual Books and institutional subscriptions to the database, place advertisements on any page dedicated to a Book, and make other commercial uses of Books. At any time, Rightsholders can change instructions to Google regarding any of those uses. Through a Book Rights Registry ("Registry") established by the settlement, Google will pay Rightsholders 63% of all revenues from these uses.
Google also will pay $34.5 million to establish and fund the initial operations of the Registry and for notice and settlement administration costs, and at least $45 million for cash payments to Rightsholders of Books and Inserts that Google scans on or before May 5, 2009.
Who Is Included?
The settlement class includes all persons worldwide who own a U.S. copyright interest in any Book or Insert. The meaning of "U.S. copyright interest" is broad. Wherever you are located, please read the full Notice to determine whether you are included in the settlement.
There are two Sub-Classes:
* The "Author Sub-Class" (authors of Books and other writings, and their heirs, successors and assigns), and
* The "Publisher Sub-Class" (publishers of Books and periodicals, and their successors and assigns).
What Material Is Covered?
"Books" include in-copyright written works, such as novels, textbooks, dissertations, and other writings, that were published or distributed in hard copy format on or before January 5, 2009. U.S. works must be registered with the U.S. Copyright Office to be included in the settlement. "Books" do not include periodicals, personal papers, sheet music, and public domain or government works.
"Inserts" include any text and other material, such as forewords, essays, poems, quotations, letters, song lyrics, children's Book illustrations, sheet music, charts, and graphs, if independently protected by U.S. copyright, contained in a Book, a government work or a public domain book published on or before January 5, 2009 and, if U.S. works, registered (alone or as part of another work) with the U.S. Copyright Office. Inserts do not include pictorial content (except for children's Book illustrations), or any public domain or government works.
The Notice contains a more detailed description of these terms and other essential information about the settlement.
What Should I do?
Please read the full Notice, which is available at http://www.googlebooksettlement.com.
Decide whether you should:
* Remain in the settlement. If you do so, you will be bound by the Court's rulings, including a release of your claims against Google.
* Object to or comment on the settlement. You must object/comment in writing by September 4, 2009.
* Opt out of the settlement and keep your right to sue Google individually. You must opt out in writing by September 4, 2009.
* File a claim for a cash payment (if you are eligible to do so). You must file your claim by January 5, 2010.
The Court has appointed Class Counsel to represent the two Sub-Classes. If the settlement is approved, Class Counsel for the Author Sub-Class will request attorneys' fees and expenses that Google has agreed to pay. You can also hire your own attorney at your own cost.
The Court will determine whether to approve the settlement at a Fairness Hearing on October 7, 2009 at 10:00 a.m.
Get Complete Information, Including the Full Notice:
Visit: http://www.googlebooksettlement.com Call: +1.612.359.8600
Write: Google Book Search Settlement Administrator, c/o Rust Consulting
P.O. Box 9364, Minneapolis, MN 55440-9364 United States of America