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in Filmmaking
on Feb 15, 2009

If you keep up with this blog, you’ll have read a bunch about the Google Book Settlement and its implications for the future of copyright, the information age industry and creators’ rights in the digital realm. (Check out my previous posts.) This week Google issued its official notification to authors in a press release, reprinted below. (Hat tip: Digitization 101.) As Google has already indicated that similar endeavors may be planned using online video, I think filmmakers as well as authors should know something about the search giant’s plans.

NEW YORK, Feb. 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Court-ordered process of officially notifying authors, publishers, and other copyright-holders about the landmark Google Book Search class-action settlement is underway.

Authors and publishers throughout the world are receiving detailed information about their legal rights and options by email and postal mail. A Summary Notice is being published in 218 countries and 72 languages, which complements the mailed notice program. Class members should visit http://www.googlebooksettlement.com for complete information, including the Notice of Class Action Settlement, and key dates.

The Authors Guild, the Association of American Publishers, and Google announced the proposed settlement in late October 2008. The settlement, if Court-approved, will authorize Google to scan in-copyright Books and Inserts in the United States, maintain an electronic database of Books, and make various uses of the Books as specified in the settlement. For out-of-print Books and, if permitted by Rightsholders of in-print Books, Google will be able to sell access to individual Books and institutional subscriptions to the database, place advertisements on any page dedicated to a Book, and make other commercial uses of Books. At any time, Rightsholders can change instructions to Google regarding any of those uses. Through a Book Rights Registry (“Registry”) established by the settlement, Google will pay Rightsholders 63% of all revenues from these uses. The settlement also provides for cash payments to Rightsholders of Books and Inserts that Google scans prior to May 5, 2009.

Class members’ rights may be affected by the settlement even if they do not act. Those who wish to opt out of or object to the settlement must do so by May 5, 2009. Claims for cash payments for Books and Inserts scanned by May 5, 2009 must be filed by January 5, 2010. The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York will consider whether to grant final approval of the settlement at a hearing on June 11, 2009.

Complete information about the settlement is available at http://www.googlebooksettlement.com, which is available in 36 languages.

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