Monday, December 01, 2008

Rights holders have a limited time to opt out of the Google settlement

My fascination with the Google and its book search efforts is really showing, as I pounce on every new blog post in my RSS reader about it (and the impending settlement). Peter Murray in a recent blog post commented on Judge Sprizzo’s order granting preliminary settlement approval. Those -- rights holders -- who do not want to be included in the settlement must opt out soon. However, many may not realize that they need to do this. Murray wrote:
The number of people in the settlement class is huge — all of the authors who have self-published and/or retained copyright to their works and all of the publishers over the last eight decades, not to mention their heirs (since the current incarnation of copyright law extends the rights 70 years past the death of the author). It would seem that in the span of four months (January 5th to May 5th), all of these people need to see the notice and make a decision on whether they want to op-out of the settlement. Tens of thousands (hundreds of thousands?) of people need to decide whether they agree with a sweeping new Books Rights Registry and what will probably become a template of an agreement covering retrospective, had-not-been-conceived digital rights.
While Google must publish notifications, I would think that it is in our best interest to also spread the word to people that are -- or may be -- right holders. If you want to opt out of this settlement and not be covered by it, you need to say so before May 5, 2009.

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