Forty-two seconds after midnight Pacific Time yesterday an email arrived with the details for the famed Google Book Settlement.
From the very beginning of this mess (several years ago) I've thought this was handled poorly, but that is the American way: Go piss off a bunch of people while mindlessly looking to make a buck, act like you are doing some noble thing when someone grumbles, and trust that most people won't notice, care, or bother to think about what is happening.
While it is so easy to blame all of this on Google, that is just nuts. There were libraries at fault too who gave Google permission and access to scan books when they did not have the rights to do so (and they probably should have been joined in the suit). There were publishers who did the same (I had a fierce argument with my publisher at the time).
When the situation went into litigation, there were writer groups who took it upon themselves to speak for all writers in one of the lamest negations I've ever read. In my opinion they only had the right (duty?) to speak for their members when they filed their amicus brief, then patted themselves on the back as they spoke for writers everywhere - not only American writers.
And you want to know what really ticks me off? Most writers still don't have a clue what I'm talking about, what the issues of the case were, and won't read the settlement to know how it will effect them in the future.
Except for the pirating problem worldwide, and sorry to say, primarily in Asia; the fact that some lame brain in corporate America didn't have the basic understanding of the book industry to consider who the copyright holders of these works were/are; and the theft of moneys to be made from these books by persons I will leave nameless, I have no problem with books being scanned.
But most of us have slept through this whole debate like village idiots. That is why I'm not summarizing this incident. Some things are worth learning for oneself.
My admiration goes to the President of France for saying, "NO!" Other governments raised their sleepy heads long enough to respond in a watered down fashion.
On the high road, scanning books can bring them to people who are so remotely located that they otherwise have no access to them for the purposes of furthering their education (online).
And the "OOPS! We forgot this bit" link: http://www.googlebooksettlement.com/Supplemental-Notice.pdf
(Hey, I warned everyone in my beginning post that I probably shouldn't blog because I have an opinion on everything. This is one of the examples of my ability to think for myself and state it. http://nadinelaman.blogspot.com/2009/04/ive-been-member-of-blogger-since-2007.html)