Somehow I missed this statement from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America when it came out. Their list of concerns with the settlement contains a bunch of familiar arguments, plus a few new ones:
The class representatives do not include any authors of adult trade fiction, an obvious issue for SFWA.
I’m not sure how finely one can slice and dice the class representatives (Scott Gant’s brief has some interesting things to say here about the Authors Guild’s role or non-role in representing authors), but the trade-publishing angle is one that may be noteworthy.
The class fails to consider fully licensees of works and fails to account for their interests.
I’m not sure what they’re getting at here, and would like to know more.
The terminology of the Google Book settlement makes no distinction, nor does it provide a mechanism for discovering the difference, between works deemed out-of-print and works in the public domain.
Unless they mean something other than what I think they mean, this strikes me as wrong. The settlement contains an administrative procedure to sort out claims over whether a book is public domain, and even provides for the potential recapture of revenues mistakenly paid over to the Registry for books that turn out to be in the public domain.
SFWA is not advocating a particular course of action nor providing legal advice for individual authors, who should evaluate the proposed Google Book settlement based on their own situation and with the advice and input of their own legal counsel.
For the record, SFWA believes that the proposed Google Book settlement is fundamentally flawed and should be rejected by the court.
That’s the strongest statement I’ve seen from a professional authors’ association.