GBS: Samuelson on Opting Out

Another Huffington Post column from Samuelson, this one on the impending opt-out/objection deadline:

January 28 is the last day on which owners of copyrights in books published in the U.S., UK, Canada, and Australia can opt out or object to the proposed settlement of the Google Book Search (GBS) class action lawsuit initiated in 2005 by the Authors Guild.

There is a huge difference between opting out and objecting, and copyright owners who dislike the settlement must choose between them.

Opt-outs will not be bound by the settlement. (This does not necessarily mean that Google will not scan your books or that it will remove them from GBS; this must be separately requested.) Although opt-outs can separately sue Google for infringement, this is probably not a sensible option for most authors because of the litigation expense. Opt-outs are not precluded from later negotiating a deal with Google to make their books available through the Google Partner Program (GPP). …

For what it’s worth, I’m objecting to the settlement, not opting out. Academics like me tend to want as many books as possible to be widely available to the public. The more opt-outs there are, the less likely GBS is to achieve the lofty ambitions of being a universal digital library to make the knowledge in books more accessible to all. My objection is aimed at making the GBS deal fairer for academic authors whose books constitute a substantial majority of books in GBS.