The odds of the Google Book settlement being approved – at least if the process comes down to a popularity contest – decreased again this week. The National Writers Union, American Society of Journalists and Authors, and Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America objected to it.
As reported by David Sarno, these groups represent over 4,000 writers and journalists, so they’re rather more important than a couple of random clubs. Also, instead of just grumbling about the proposed deal on blogs, they wrote a letter to Congress.
Part of the letter stated, "There are millions of book authors in this country who could be locked into an agreement they don’t understand and didn’t ask for. The Authors Guild represents only a tiny fraction of published writers, yet the new regulatory board set up in the proposed settlement will override individual book contracts – not to mention common law and even the Constitutional protection of copyright."
The organizations also asked, "Have you wondered why the settlement only covers out of print books? It’s because the major publishers have struck side deals with Google for their in-print books. In other words, the publishers who are negotiating for the plaintiff class have brokered a deal that will determine the digital future for books – but they want no part of it for the books that they actually are trying to sell!"
At this point, even if Google loses the Google Books settlement fight, it looks like the search giant may have created a huge PR problem.