Saturday, August 29, 2009

Lawyers for Authors Guild and allies to bank $30m if $125m Google Book Search settlement approved

If United States District Court Judge Denny Chin approves the proposed $125 million Google Book Search settlement in New York City on October 7th, the lawyers that represent the Authors Guild and its allies will bank $30 million of the $125 million as legal fees.

However, according to a recent 47-page court filing by author and prominent attorney Scott E. Gant opposing the proposed settlement, “counsel for the Author Sub-Class ‘incurred approximately $140,000 in expenses as of the date of the Settlement Agreement’ [...] a tiny amount for a complex case or a large class action – further suggesting no significant discovery or expert work occurred.” Gant’s filing also states that “In light of the substantial problems with the Proposed Settlement [...] the award of fees requested by Plaintiffs’ counsel is unwarranted. [...] If the Court decides to approve the Settlement, in part or in whole, some of the $30 million set aside as fees for counsel to the proposed Author Sub-Class should be redirected to the author class members themselves.”

How much money are the members of the “author class” scheduled to receive under the proposed $125 million settlement? Here’s some light reading material that will blow your mind:

The Google Books Settlement: Fact vs. Fiction, Open Book Alliance, August 2009

Should I Opt Out? Should I Fear Google? What about the Money? Answers about the Google Book Settlement, The Authors Guild, August 2009

“Is the Google Books Settlement Evil?” Vanity Fair, August 27, 2009

Now I understand why the Guild's Authors League Fund provides "open-ended, interest-free, no-strings-attached loans" to "professional writers and dramatists who find themselves in financial need because of medical or health-related problems, temporary loss of income or other misfortune."

No comments: