Slow News Summer in Both Cases
Google Books buzz -- distinct from our freelance case, of course, though somewhat related to it -- has hit a lull. We're all eager to know what the fallout will be from both the Justice Department antitrust investigation and the new September opt out/objection deadline. A recent NewsBreaks article by Paula Hane at the Information Today website says, among other things, that further delays, pushing the fairness hearing past the current scheduled date of October 7, would not be surprising. (See "Update on the Google Book Settlement," July 2, http://newsbreaks.infotoday.com/Spotlight/Update-on-the-Google-Book-Settlement-54998.asp.)
In its counter PR, the Authors Guild has said practically nothing about the core author-centric arguments against Google's terms. An open letter by AG president Roy Blount Jr., which got picked up by the Los Angeles Times, focuses exclusively on orphan works, the main issue for librarians, consumers, and Google's competitors. This exhibits a confidence that writers will never assert their interests with vigor or vision. That such confidence emanates from an organization purporting to represent those interests is the crux of the problem in both cases.