The settlement is extremely complicated, and was the subject of much debate among my editorial colleagues. I’m curious to hear from our readers what their final decision was — to opt-in or opt-out — and why they chose that course.
Personally, I think the whole question may be moot, as the settlement is unlikely to be approved by a court as it stands. There are too many problems with creating a monopoly for Google, and with violating several international treaties. We may end up starting this debate all over again with a new, revised settlement, or (gasp!) the case could actually go to court.
I found Edward Hasbrouck’s writing on the settlement was particularly informative and helpful in understanding the implications of what opting in means. Although I see great value in getting books indexed to help reader awareness, and saving orphan works is tremendously important, my advice was to opt out of the settlement. Opting out seems to provide a better level of control over the works where we hold the rights, leaving us with more options.
We’re already a partner in Google’s Books program, and I’d rather negotiate our own terms for inclusion of our works. The financial rewards of the settlement don’t amount to much for a small publishing house. And I worry about any monopoly provider in any market–it would be bad for publishers and bad for readers if Google was granted the rights to proceed with no possible competition, now or in the future.
So my vote is “yes” for the concept of Google Books, but “no” for the terms of this particular settlement.
What did you decide? Let us know in the comments section below.