Ursula K. Le Guin resigns from Authors Guild

December 26, 2009

CBC article here.

Can't say I really blame her. I'm not sure I'd call that particular settlement "satisfactory".

Is it just me or does the Guild's response seem completely defeated? They seem to essentially be saying "it's this or 'completely gutted' so roll over and take it".

One comment on “Ursula K. Le Guin resigns from Authors Guild”

  1. The Google/Author's Guild Settlement completely sidesteps the issue of whether scanning a complete book to display "snippets" is fair use. Instead, the Settlement is an ongoing publishing contract that gives Google broad publication and sales powers that last for the entire copyright term.

    This means the Author's Guild's reply to Ursula LeGuin is bogus. Yes, the AG _might_ have lost the "snippet" suit in court. No lawsuit is a sure thing. However, if the AG had _won_ their original suit--or at the very least hammered out in court a harmless-to-copyright-holders definition of "snippet"--that precedent _would_ have protected copyright holders. Since the AG set no precedent, any and every other party that wants to scan entire books to display "snippets" is still free to do so and wait for someone to sue _them_.

    In short, the Author's Guild has protected no copyrights at all. They've just given Google a huge grant of rights owned by numerous copyright holders with no connection to either the Author's Guild or Google, and which, contrary to Google's PR, are by no means all out-of-print or so-called orphan works.

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