Why I am not opting out of the Google Settlement

by Mary W. Walters

Most of the reasons for opting out of the Google Settlement are based on highly respectable principles — Google did a bad thing, and it should be punished. Google says we’re “in” unless we say we’re “out,” and that is not fair. A big company should not have so much power over all the words one writer has strung together in new ways to make meaningful sentences, stories and articles.

Sorry kids. Individual writers are no more than mosquito bites to Google. I’m a realist. To me, here is a GREAT opportunity for promotion of my entire writing career. If someone can find one of my out-of-print (OOP) books on Google, which no one will ever find otherwise, and read a paragraph or a chapter of it, and like what they have seen, maybe they will take the link to my website and buy the SAME book as an eBook or print-on-demand (POD) book directly from me (ebooks are not covered by the Google Settlement, and according to Access Copyright as of TODAY, the opinion on whether an OOP book that is reissued as POD has not been answered, and may be exempt as well, since it will have a new ISBN. The worst that can happen is that it will no longer be considered “unavailable,” and will be excluded by Google), or maybe on-line readers will buy ANOTHER novel of mine that is IN print by then, published after Jan. 5, 2009 (the cutoff date for the agreement)–such as The Whole Clove Diet, or my newest novel.

I love this chance to join the digital community and access its promotional opportunities in a new way. We’re in the same boat as the musicians now — we cannot protect text individually. The digital world is too big. This settlement is actually helping us to protect our text — because now Google has a vested interest in protecting it. This is good for my career, and I am staying in.

In short, Google did a bad thing, and the settlement they have come up with to compensate writers as a result of the lawsuit that was launched against them is of benefit to me as a writer. It is not perfect, and there are “issues,” but there are issues with everything and the ones in this case are not enough to dissuade me.

I’m in.

(For more information on the Google Settlement, visit the Access Copyright website. The “Overview” is a worthwhile document to download and there is a link to the settlement itself.)

2 responses

  1. Yeahhh…:::::scratching chin::::: I just don’t trust them. Even though I don’t have a dog in this hunt, we’re talking Corporate America at the controls here. These guys don’t do anything out of the goodness of their hearts. Somehow, some way, they stand to profit, mightily, by as-yet unrevealed shenanigans.

  2. The whole thing is way too complicated. But I went to the Access Copyright workshop. What I got out of it was that, yes, as you say Googled did a bad thing. Bad Google! But the American Authors’ Assoc (apologies if I have the org’s name wrong) did a good job of negotiating a settlement on behalf of all writers. And this only applies to my older books. I am and intend to keep writing. If there are better offers in the future for those books, well and good. I’m also interested in your point that this doesn’t apply to ebooks. All the better.

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