Revised Google Deal Still Disses Writers NWU Says

          On Nov. 14, 2009, NWU released the following statement:  “The proposed revised settlement of the Google Books copyright infringement lawsuit fails to address the concerns of several writers’ organizations and many American writers, and allows Google to get away with violating writers’ constitutionally protected rights,” said Larry Goldbetter, president of the National Writers Union.
            “While the new proposal might appear to answer some objections, it still offers American writers a pittance for their already-scanned books, still requires writers to ‘opt out’ of the Google Books program, and still interferes with author-publisher contractual relationships,” Goldbetter said.
            Goldbetter also made these points:
            Ž “As we said earlier, Google scanned more than 10 million books without permission of the copyright owners. The Goliath of advertising-supported search – which enjoyed a net income of more than $4.5 billion last year – still wants to pay writers as little as $60 per book to forgive the infringement and to cede control over future exploitation of their works.
            Ž “We oppose the proposed settlement provisions that require writers to ‘opt out’ in order to prevent their copyright protected work from being displayed, searched and exploited for Google’s profit. This usurps the job of Congress, rewrites copyright law, and eliminates protections that have existed since the Constitution was adopted in 1789.
            Ž “The proposed settlement still would supercede the terms of existing author-publisher contracts, impose a mandatory secret arbitration process to resolve disputes between authors, publishers and Google and interject Google into the author-publisher relationship.”
            The National Writers Union is the nation’s only labor union and advocacy organization for freelance writers in all genres, media, and formats. In addition to print media writers, NWU represents electronic writers and editors of blogs, e-newsletters and web sites. NWU is affiliated with the United Auto Workers (UAW) and the AFL-CIO. Its headquarters are at 256 W. 38th St., Suite 703, New York, NY, 10018.
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