Monthly Archives: October 2012

Authors Guild Offices Remain Closed

Our offices are high and dry, but power has not yet been restored to them. (Our building is in the zone of Manhattan affected by Hurricane Sandy’s flooding of the Con Ed plant on East 14th Street Monday night.) Our normal email service is unavailable for the moment — our server is stranded in our office. If you’ve recently sent us an email, we should receive it when the server reboots.

From what we can learn, it seems unlikely that our offices will have power tomorrow. We hope to reopen Friday.

Our apologies for the inconvenience.

“Orphan Works” Unresolved in HathiTrust Ruling

Wednesday evening, US District Court Judge Harold Baer ruled that the mass book digitization program conducted by five major universities in conjunction with Google is a fair use under US copyright law. Under that program, Google has converted millions of copyright-protected library books into machine-readable files, duplicating and distributing the digitized books to university libraries. The universities pooled the digitized books into an online database organized by the University of Michigan known as HathiTrust.

We disagree with nearly every aspect of the court’s ruling. We’re especially disappointed that the court refused to address the universities’ “orphan works” program, which defendants have repeatedly promised to revive. A year ago, the University of Michigan and other defendants were poised to release their first wave of copyright-protected, digitized books to hundreds of thousands of students and faculty members in several states. The universities had deemed the authors of these books to be unfindable.

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Publishers Drop Mass Book Digitization Suit Against Google. Authors’ Class-Action Continues.

A group of large U.S. publishers agreed to drop their lawsuit against Google over its mass-digitization of millions of copyright-protected books. In a press release issued this morning, the Association of American Publishers and Google said that the terms of the settlement are confidential and won’t need court approval. The parties did lift the covers off the deal a bit, saying publishers “can choose to make available or choose to remove their books and journals digitized by Google.” The statement does not say whether Google is compensating publishers for its unauthorized uses of the books, nor does it address whether Google will continue scanning books without permission. The press release acknowledges that the settlement doesn’t affect the authors’ class-action lawsuit against Google.

“The publishers’ private settlement, whatever its terms, does not resolve the authors’ copyright infringement claims against Google,” Authors Guild executive director Paul Aiken said in a statement. “Google continues to profit from its use of millions of copyright-protected books without regard to authors’ rights, and our class-action lawsuit on behalf of U.S. authors continues.”

The press release follows.

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