Monday, August 17, 2009

More Opposition to the Google Book Settlement

The National Writers Union voted last week to oppose the Google Book Settlement. The NWU is a labor union that represents its members who are freelance and contract writers. Although the NWU is not a party to the class action litigation, it opposes the settlement as harmful to its member-writers. The NWU takes the position that the proposed settlement is unfair to writers for several reasons, including:
  • The proposed payout to writers, potentially up to $300 per book and potentially up to $15 per article, is too low compared to the infringing value of the works copied by Google without permission.
  • Writers will have to continue monitoring Google's copying and instruct Google to remove the writer from Google's copying program. In NWU's view, this approach puts the cart before the horse and forces writers to opt-out rather than requiring Google to opt-in by obtaining permission from writers in the first instance.
  • The proposed settlement may interfere with writers' relationships with their publishers. The settlement establishes a potentially costly and cumbersome binding arbitration procedure between writers and publishers.

For a more complete review of the NWU's position regarding the Google Book Settlement, contact the National Writers Union or go to

More information about the Google Book Settlement is available on this blog by searching the index of blog entries. Note that September 4, 2009 is the final date for writers and publishers to opt out of the class action, to object to the settlement, to intervene or to file an amicus brief.

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