Saturday, January 17, 2009

important news for Canadian writers and publishers

Access Copyright, the Canadian copyright licensing agency has today sent out a special notice to its affiliates calling our attention to details of the recent Google settlement in New York. The notice is also available on their website at this link.

Access Copyright has also prepared an article entitled "Why the Google Settlement Matters to You," and I'll quote from it here:

Google first announced its intention to undertake a massive project to digitize books and make them available to users in 2004. Academic libraries, including Harvard and Oxford, entered into partnerships with Google to digitize the libraries’ collections of works. However, in many cases the digitization was done without permission from the copyright owner.

In 2005, the Authors Guild, Inc. and certain authors and publisher representatives of the Association of American Publishers separately sued Google for copyright infringement.

In 2008, the parties reached a settlement agreement, which, if approved by the court in a hearing scheduled for June 11, 2009, may affect almost every book in the world, and consequently, almost every copyright owner (creator, publisher, heir or other rightsholder) who has copyright in one or more books. In fact, the settlement notice advises copyright owners to “assume that you own a U.S. copyright interest in your book”. If this applies to you, you are considered part of the settlement class for this agreement.

This is an important moment in the evolution of writing and publishing. I urge all Canadian writers and publishers to learn as much as they can about the settlement, and either register to take part in it or opt-out of the settlement altogether.

Access Copyright plans a series of web seminars and an in-person information presentation at their head office in Toronto. Here's what they have to say about that:

Web-based seminars will be offered on the following dates (all times in Eastern Standard Time):

Thursday, January 22, 2009 9:30 a.m. – noon
Monday, January 26, 2009 9:30 a.m. – noon
Wednesday, January 28, 2009 1 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Based on demand, we may add additional web-based seminars in February. Please stay tuned for more details.

A seminar on the Google settlement will also be held at Access Copyright’s offices at One Yonge Street in Toronto on Thursday, February 12, 2009 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.

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