Friday, November 13, 2009

Modifications to the Google Books Settlement



Last year, we joined with a broad class of authors and publishers to announce a settlement agreement that would make millions of out-of-print books available to students and readers in every part of the U.S., while forging new opportunities for rightsholders to sell access to their books. Tonight we submitted an amended version of the Google Books settlement agreement to the court.

We've traveled all over the world together with the authors and publishers to talk with people about our agreement, and over the last two months, we've read the many letters and briefs written to the court. We've also had discussions with the Department of Justice about the settlement.

The changes we've made in our amended agreement address many of the concerns we've heard (particularly in limiting its international scope), while at the same time preserving the core benefits of the original agreement: opening access to millions of books while providing rightsholders with ways to sell and control their work online. You can read a summary of the changes we made here, or by reading our FAQ.

We firmly believe in the promise of the agreement, as do our many supporters. As Sergey Brin recently wrote in a recent op-ed, "even if our cultural heritage stays intact in the world’s foremost libraries, it is effectively lost if no one can access it easily."

We're disappointed that we won't be able to provide access to as many books from as many countries through the settlement as a result of our modifications, but we look forward to continuing to work with rightsholders from around the world to fulfill our longstanding mission of increasing access to all the world's books.

If you'd like to hear more, you can join Chairman of the American Association of Publishers Richard Sarnoff, Authors Guild Executive Director Paul Aiken and me for a public conference call at 9:15 PM Pacific/12:15 AM Eastern to discuss our amended agreement.

You can find more perspectives on the agreement from authors and publishers here and here.

UPDATE (2:40AM ET): For a replay of the call, use the following phone number and passcode:

Toll free: 888-203-1112
Replay Passcode: 3915040

We've removed the outdated conference call number from the post.

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