ject to sharing provisions. The revenue
streams will come from ads appearing
next to displays of in-copyright books in
response to user queries and from individual and institutional subscriptions
to some or all of the books in the corpus.
Google and the BRR may also develop
new business models over time that will
be subject to similar sharing.
One of the main jobs of the BRR
will be to distribute these revenues.
The money will go, less BRR’s costs, to
authors and publishers who have registered their copyright claims with the
BRR. Although the settlement agreement extends only to books published
prior to January 5, 2009, the BRR is expected to attract authors and publishers
of later-published books to participate
in the revenue-sharing arrangement that
Google has negotiated with the BRR.
how can Google be
getting a license to
make millions of
Book search just by
settling a lawsuit?
Class Action settlement
By now, Communications readers may
be a bit puzzled. How can Google be
getting a license to make millions of in-copyright books available through Book
Search just by settling a lawsuit brought
by a small fraction of authors and publishers?
U.S. law allows the filing of “class
action” lawsuits whose lead plaintiffs
claim they represent a class of persons
who have suffered the same kind of harm
as a result of the defendant’s wrongful
conduct as long as there are common
issues of fact and law that make it desirable to adjudicate the claims in one lawsuit instead of many.
The Authors Guild and three of its
members sued Google, claiming to
represent a class of similarly situated
authors whose books Google was scan-
ning and whose copyrights Google was
violating. By bringing a class action lawsuit, the Authors Guild put considerable
financial pressure on Google because
the winner of a class action lawsuit is entitled to an award that equals all of the
monies owed to the class, which may be
exponentially higher than awards to individual plaintiffs.
In the absence of a settlement agreement, Google would almost certainly
have vigorously fought against certification of the class in the Authors Guild
case. After all, the guild has only a few
thousand members and most of them
do not write the kinds of scholarly works
that are typically found in major university research libraries. Many scholarly
book authors might want their books to
be scanned by the Book Search project
so they will be more accessible to potential readers.
The publisher lawsuit did not start
out as a class action lawsuit, perhaps in
part because McGraw-Hill et al. recognized how difficult it would be for them
to prove they adequately represented a
class of all book publishers whose books
Google had scanned.
However, the agreement that Google
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