[publishing] A bit more on the banal evil of the Google books settlement

Literary agent Ashley Grayson on the Google Books settlement. Go read it.

Some of you read my prior post on this [ jlake.com | LiveJournal ], which generated a pretty interesting comment thread.

Nothing I’ve read since then makes me feel any better. For one thing, everybody seems to have a different conclusion about it, which tells me it isn’t the least bit clear cut. That lack of consensus in and of itself is a bad thing, because it tells me this is a crappy settlement if no one involved can explain it the same way.

So far as I can determine, my rights as a copyright holder are being permanently hijacked, and the advice I’m getting boils down to “relax and enjoy it, you can’t afford to sue Google anyway.”

Those of you who work at Google, what the hell happened to “Don’t be evil?” You’ve jumped the shark, guys. Wretchedly so. In fact, let me say a hearty “fuck you very much” to your entire organization.

I hate that I’m going to have to stop using Gmail, Google Maps, Google Desktop, Google search, and all the other really cool stuff Google has put into my life. But what else am I going to do? Because this thing is vile, it stinks to high heaven, and I’m being ripped off both now and in perpetuity by Google.

Thanks a million, Larry and Sergey. You guys have really made my publishing career.

5 thoughts on “[publishing] A bit more on the banal evil of the Google books settlement

  1. Matt H says:

    As part of the tech generation, I’m probably a bit odd in that I’ve never used the book search in my life. Only ever used it when I read your first post about this. By habit, if I want to read a book, I go to abookstore, and you know old habits…

    Anyway, I did a cursory scan of the book search and found Escapement on there, not the whole thing, but a “preview”; the “preview” being 377 pages of the book. I’m just a bit curious, first of all, how this passes as a preview, and second of all, how do they have this up there in the first place? Have you not opted out/objected? Can they publish a “preview” of +/- 75% of your work whether you’re opted out or not?

    I don’t know what jollies people get off of reading a 377 page “preview” for free. At $7.99+tax Escapement a bloody steal IMHO.

    What a piece of work this agreement is…

    1. Jay says:

      I have not yet opted out, and even if I do, they have 13 months or something to remedy. And to be clear, I don’t actually object in principle to what Google is trying to do with the book search. I object to the precedent they’ve set for how copyright licensing is managed, which is profoundly frightening to authors.

      (And thank you for the compliment.)

  2. Matt H says:

    Ah, understood on both counts.

  3. Grant K says:

    I need to pay more attention to this.

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