New White Paper on Settlement Objections

My students and I are pleased to announce the release of a new white paper, Objections to the Google Books Settlement and Responses in the Amended Settlement: A Report:

This report collects information about the objections raised to the original proposed settlement in the Authors Guild v. Google litigation. We identified 76 distinct issues, which we grouped into 11 categories. This report briefly summarizes each issue, provides an illustrative quotation from a filing with the court, and indicates any related changes in the amended settlement.

Unlike some of my other writings on the settlement, this report doesn’t tell a story or make an argument. Instead, it’s a pure attempt to provide the public with usable information. There are now almost 800 entries on the docket, and very few people have the kind of time required to read them all. Our report is meant as a summary of the issues raised by objectors, so that those interested in the case and trying to understand the impact of the proposed amendments can see where things stand, if not in a glance, than at least in a single read.

We anticipate producing future versions of the report as the case progresses. Please email us with any corrections or suggestions.

Once again all class members, attorneys, court staff, authors,publishers, everyone interested in the GBS owe Prof. G and his students a tremendous thanks for organizing and giving us this analytic summary.

A huge thank you to Prof. Grimmelmann and his merry band for this new white paper, and the hours of effort that went into it.

I’m president of ASJA, the American Society of Journalists and Authors. We are freelance writers; our members have such a stake in this deal, yet the documents are daunting. So difficult to parse! As we have many times before, a number of us have been saying in the last couple of days “where would we be, had these folks not undertaken this project? And been so faithful?”

The answer is, pretty much like Moses wandering in the wilderness.

Thank you, Professor, and thank you Benjamin Burge, Stephanie Figueroa, Leanne Gabinelli, Cynthia Grady, Marc Miller, Deva Roberts and Andrew Smith. We are most grateful.

I have only just started working my way through this, but already I can see that it is going to be very useful. Many thanks to all involved.

One point I have noticed: on p. 5, in the section ‘Revenue Split Insufficient’, the paper states under ‘Amendments’: ‘Rightsholders are explicitly allowed to negotiate different revenue splits.’

There is a rather important qualification to this, that should, I think, be noted; it only applies to books that Google deems ‘commercially available’:

Once a Book is classified as not Commercially Available, the Standard Revenue Splits shall apply beginning no later than sixty (60) days after such reclassification, notwithstanding any prior agreed revenue split between Google and a Rightsholder. [4.5.(a)(iii)]