Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Opting Out

A blog post all authors and copyright owners should read, in case you haven't been following the story: After a great deal of e-mail and effort, Holly Lisle has successfully removed her books from Google's online library service.

5 comments:

  1. So it CAN be done. That's good news. I figured they would want to hear from the author, then they'd say they needed it notarized, then they'd say they needed to hear from the publisher, then they'd say they had to have it signed, in triplicate, by three dead presidents and two mythical beasts before it would go on the list of books to be removed at some point in the distant future. Maybe.

    This is good news. It's still too bad that there is an opt-out rather than an opt-in, but at least it's an option.

    Next step, getting the whole thing shut down or turned into real snipets (like the blurb on the back cover plus a list of key words) instead of whole books.

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  2. Since Google intends to profit from their library (the money will come from the sale of advertising, where almost all of Google's money comes from -- and it will be significant) I'd be happy to see them buy reprint rights for all the books they wish to publish, just as other publishers do.

    If they don't think that would be profitable? Well, welcome to the wonderful world of publishing. You pay your money and you take your chances, just like everyone else.

    Since, however, they have not offered to by reprint rights -- which would be the simple, logical, legal solution -- I'm satisfied that my books will be removed from their site.

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  3. Ok, from the other side of the fence.

    I was actually asked by my publisher if I wanted to opt in to this program. And while I see how the established writers would want out, for a first timer like me it is yet another way to have a prospective audience see my writing without worrying that they are getting slammed on price.

    I don't know right now if I will opt in in the future, but for new writiers I think that this is yet another source of exposure.

    I've also tried reading online before. And seriously I only read far enough to know if I want a hard copy or not. The only book I have ever managed to completely read from my screen was one where I am still waiting for a hard copy to come out. That's why I think that for some of us on the low end of the totem it could really be a good thing.It's the same reason I offer some of my shorts free to read, it allows people to see my style before shelling out.

    just a couple of pennies from me to everyone else.

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  4. Yep, but it's Google that should do the asking. No author should be required to google his/her name and find all sorts of nasty surprises and then have to write emails to sort out the mess. If they had asked Holly, who knows, she may even have given them permission to publish one of her older books. But a recent release like Talyn in the Google Library, behind her back - I'd be pissed, too.

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  5. Jules2:58 PM

    Gabriele -- the problem, as I understand it, is that somebody (I forget who, but the details are on Holly's blog) told them that they held electronic rights to Holly's book and that they wanted to opt in with those rights. Of course, they didn't have the rights they were claiming they did.

    As I understand it, Google are currently only using books that they've received an "opt-in" for. Their mistake is to believe that any publisher who claims to hold rights to the book actually does have those rights. And I'm not sure what the best way around it for them is. Legally, if I were Google, I'd be asking publishers opting in for a warranty that they had the right to do so, covering legal expenses and compensation payments given to the real rights holders if they turn out to be wrong. But that doesn't help the authors, and unfortunately I can't think of anything that does.

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