GBS: Spraggs on Inserts

Gillian Spraggs, UK author and author of The Google Book Settlement: A Survival Aid for UK Authors , has posted a new, shorter guide in the same style, a guide to the settlement for Insert authors: poets, essayists, and other writers of shorter works published in collections. It’s available in HTML, PDF, DOC, and ODT.

It seems to me that despite Google’s convoluted efforts to gain control over anthologies and collections of poems essays and short stories in the scanned books, even if the GBS I and II are approved, Google and the Registry cannot get a broader, e-publishing license than the anthology editor/publisher had from the insert rights owners. Usually the written reprint permissions given were of very limited scope and, before 10 yrs ago would not have included any express grant of possible e publishing reprint use. Any decision by an anthology editor or publishing house to opt out, or to stay in the GBS and allow preview or other display or e publishing commercial use would be ultra vires and completely beyond the scope of the original insert contributor permission. See the Tasini case for a related limited view. Google and the Registry cannot claim to be a bona fide purchaser (BFP) of such insert rights, unless they are expressly granted by the insert rights holder himself. The anthology editor/publisher simply does not, in most of the old editions(i.e. prior to 1995??) have the legal right to control any use of the insert beyond that limited grant for the actual ink and paper edition of the original anthology. Neither Rule 23, nor any provision of GBS I or II negotiated by the parties to the case, can expand that limited grant to license the Registry or Google (or their assignees) to e-publish such anthology inserts, whether or not the work was opted out and whether or not Judge Chin approves the GBS next month.