Monday, April 27, 2009

Extending notice on the Google Book Search settlement

Last October, we announced a settlement agreement regarding Google Book Search that resolves class action lawsuits first filed in 2005 by the Authors Guild and the American Association of Publishers. Last Friday, along with the authors and the publishers, we submitted a letter to the court asking for permission to extend what's called the "notice period" for an extra 60 days.

So what exactly does "notice" mean? Notice is an important part of due process. It helps inform class members of their rights under the proposed settlement and gives them a chance to opt out if they wish to. If you've ever received a letter in the mail from a credit card company or product manufacturer informing you that you're entitled to compensation under a class action, then you get the idea of what "notice" is about.

It's pretty easy for credit card companies to contact their cardholders -- they send bills to them all the time. The world's authors, publishers and their heirs are much more difficult to find. So, as the New York Times recently reported, the plaintiffs hired notice campaign specialists Kinsella Media Group to tell them about this exciting settlement, and Google has devoted millions of dollars to fund this notice campaign. Kinsella started by launching a website for authors and publishers and a direct-mail effort. Beginning in January, Kinsella published ads in newspapers and other publications all over the world from Fiji to the Cook Islands to Greenland. And of course, they also placed ads right here at home in the U.S., in publications as diverse as Writer's Digest and USA Today.

The settlement is highly detailed, and we want to make sure rightsholders everywhere have enough time to think about it and make sure it's right for them. That's why we've asked the court for permission to extend the opt-out deadline for an extra 60 days.

Update as of 04/28/09: The court has to decided to extend the opt-out deadline until September 4, 2009.


macewan said...

I love how open Google is with this information.

Almansi said...

What about:
"on Tuesday [i.e. on the day you posted this], Judge Denny Chin of Federal District Court in New York, who is overseeing the settlement, postponed by four months the May 5 deadline for authors to opt out of the settlement and for other parties to oppose it or file briefs. The decision follows requests by groups of authors and their heirs, who argued that authors needed more time to review the settlement."
in Justice Dept. Opens Antitrust Inquiry Into Google Books Deal , Miguel Helft, NYT, April 28 09 (which order can be viewed or downloaded from SDNY - Order Extending Deadline to September 4 on,)?
Surely, you must have known about the judge's order yesterday, so why the post misleadingly indicating a 60 days extension as if it were Google's initiative?

Almansi said...

Sorry, I hadn't refreshed so I hadn't seen your update. Still, yours was a rather lame attempt to present the extension as a Google initiative.