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Authors Guild/AAP/Google Settlement Gives Authors, Publishers ‘Unprecedented… Control’ Over Their Copyrights

June 22, 2009

In first public interview, Michael Healy looks into digital publishing future

DANVERS, Mass., June 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — In his first public interview, the expected executive director of the Book Rights Registry (BRR) said that, “the involvement of Google in [the publishing] marketplace, and others, is going to be part of the transformational character of [the industry over] the next few years.”

A month ago, the publishing trade media reported that Michael Healy, who is currently executive director of the non-profit Book Industry Study Group (BISG), had begun working with the Authors Guild and Association of American Publishers — plaintiffs in two separate copyright infringement lawsuits brought in 2005 against search engine giant Google for its unauthorized digitization and use of in-copyright books as part of the Google Library Project — on preparations for the establishment of the BRR as called for in the proposed settlement of those landmark cases.

Healy spoke for the first time about his involvement with this work in an exclusive interview at the offices of Copyright Clearance Center (CCC) last week. That interview will be released online today at www.copyright.com.

A trained librarian, Healy pointed with enthusiasm to the terms of the settlement that, if approved, he said, will result in “turning every public library in this country into a world-class research facility. You have to see the revolutionary character of that.”

The proposed settlement gives Google rights to scan and provide online access to millions of books, many of which are out-of-print or otherwise not commercially available. Non-U.S. publishers and authors whose works are subject to the settlement have expressed concerns, Healy said, about the methods used to decide “whether a book is commercially available, [which] affects how the book will be displayed.” While the resources for that determination are fairly obvious for U.S. works, he said, the sources to be used vary from country to country. “I think there has been a really productive partnership with rightsholders overseas about those issues,” Healy said.

Healy also cited the benefits of participating in the settlement for authors and publishers worldwide. “The Book Rights Registry introduces into the environment an unprecedented degree of control to authors, publishers and other rightsholders on how their copyrights are exploited and distributed in this new digital world,” he explained.

In 2009, book readers have shifted their expectations about content delivery from the traditional print forms to cell phones and e-book readers, Healy said, “and they want [the content] priced in a different way too.” He added, “The consumer, the reader, is changing, and I suspect the successful publishers tomorrow will be those who recognize the extent to which the landscape for the consumer is being transformed.”

“The proposed Google Books Settlement is complex, and Michael Healy does a great service for the thousands of authors and publishers that CCC represents by explaining its benefits,” said Tracey Armstrong, CCC president and chief executive officer. “We are pleased to help Mr. Healy communicate this important information. CCC is committed to ensuring that rightsholders are compensated for their works and also that they are kept abreast of news that impacts their future.”

About Copyright Clearance Center

Copyright Clearance Center is the world’s leading provider of innovative licensing solutions for the seamless sharing of knowledge. CCC’s licensing services, combined with its Web-based applications and tools, allow tens of millions of people worldwide in corporations, universities, law firms and government agencies to use and share published information with ease. Since its founding as a not-for-profit company in 1978, CCC has created and expanded the markets and systems that facilitate content reuse and the distribution of royalties to publishers and authors around the world. Visit www.copyright.com for more information.

SOURCE Copyright Clearance Center


Source: newswire



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