e_moon60 (e_moon60) wrote,

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The Google Settlement: FAIL

I hope they've got a judge with a brain this time.

In the past week I have spent hours that otherwise might have been productive trying to unclench Google's sticky fingers from my work...it's not done, though I've made progress.

Google will insist that it's doing the world a favor by digitizing everything ever published...and for some old, fragile, rare texts, that may well be true (although if they can't digitize any more accurately than they do on some of my titles...we're going to lose a lot. 

But the thing is, they've decided that "out of print" and "not commercially available" (to their very cursory search)  means "out of copyright and we can do what we want with it."

Which is against the law (copyright law and --since they're grabbing the right to digitize works by non-US citizens published in other countries--international law--to which the US is signatory--which the idiot who allowed the existing settlement was too braindead to notice.)  They're also planning to sell the digital books they make, without a by-your-leave from the writers thereof.

Others have gone into great detail about the painful process Google created so writers can 'claim' or 'assert their rights in' what they've written (rights that exist *from the time it's written* according to copyright law,)   Others have gone into the idiocy of Google's definition of "commercially available" (which denies some books in print and readily available online the "commercially available" label.)   The point (not pounded in enough to the heads of many talking about this) is that being out of print or commercially unavailable DOES NOT END COPYRIGHT PROTECTION.   Out of print has nothing to do with copyright.   Being published by a small press, or held in reserve at the publisher's for orders there, has nothing to do with copyright.  

I have a special corner of hell for the guy who insisted on setting the ISBN boundaries so they exclude books published back when ISBNs did not have "enough" numbers...roughly up to the early '90s.  Apparently Google thinks books written in the 1980s and early 1990s must all be fair game for them because of course they're out of print. But only those who have a bunch of books--in the inevitable multiple editions (hardcover, trade paper, mmpb, book club, foreign publishers--and "inserts" in books (like stories in anthologies) grasp the full physical horror of sitting there hour after hour, day after day, clawing your way through the tiny print on the Google pages,  trying to figure out why it's not finding all the editions, not ever sure it IS finding all the editions, trying to remember what the title of that one book you sold to Poland looks like...etc.  

Grump.  Head, neck, shoulders, back, arms, elbows, hands, fingers all hurt.   And I'm not done yet checking for errors and adding things in.  Older anthologies are the hardest because Google refuses their ISBNs and claims there's no such book over half the time.

But many thanks to Kris, who had produced a sort of guide to claiming one's work on Google.  

Tags: the writing life
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