Saturday, May 09, 2009

Recommended Reading While We Wait For Supreme Court Briefs

I don't expect to have much to say about Reed Elsevier v. Muchnick until at least after the filing of the briefs. (The petitioners -- settlement parties -- have a May 18 deadline. We respondents -- objectors -- must file by June 1.)

During this interlude, a firestorm has engulfed the related Google Books settlement. Again, I recommend, at a minimum, opting out there, and I'm trying to point fellow authors to resources. The following are cribbed from the Twitter feed of CopyrightLaw, maintained by Professor Michael Scott of the Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles.

* State attorneys general are beginning to examine Google Books -- this in addition to the probe by the U.S. Justice Department. See

* New York Law School professor James Grimmelman, one of the most articulate critics of the deal, is supervising the launch of "a web site dedicated to the Google Book Search settlement that will include discussion forums, a comprehensive archive of settlement documents and related commentary, and a tool for users to insert their own analyses and commentary on individual paragraphs of the proposed settlement." See

* On a somewhat related note, I suggest that everyone read the post "Free Does Not Mean No Business Model" at techdirt, This focuses on the misconception that many consumers and even many writers have held for years: the idea that just because there is no direct download fee for content in some for-profit models, that the content is therefore free and some kind of altruistic public service. From day one, the public education challenge for creators who are confronting corporations to get their fair share of the revenues in new technologies has been to cut through such cant.


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