Thursday, September 10, 2009

Only 43 writers in Authors Guild publicly support $125m Google Book Search settlement

Yesterday, the venerable Authors Guild, “the nation's oldest and largest professional society of published authors, representing more than 8,000 writers,” posted a public relations piece on its website entitled “Authors Line Up to Support Google Book Settlement.” In essence, the piece is a list of Guild members who have taken a public position in support of the proposed $125 Google Book Search settlement.

I count 43 names on the list, out of a Guild membership of more than 8,000! In other words, less than 1% of the writers in the Authors Guild are willing to publicly support the proposed $125 million Google Book Search settlement. The numbers get even bleaker when you strip the names of the Guild’s Board of Directors from the list. Also, I note that science fiction author Frederik Pohl is not on the list, even though the Guild’s website states that he is the “Mid-West” advisor to “the Council.”

In related news, Paul Aiken, the Guild’s executive director, was down in Washington today, testifying at the “Competition and Commerce in Digital Books” hearing held before the Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. House of Representatives. Paul Aiken's testimony (30 pages, PDF) can be downloaded from the committee’s website.

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