Thursday, January 21, 2010

5 things Paul Aiken of Authors Guild should have disclosed in discussing Google book settlement

Earlier today, I followed SFWA’s online panel discussion regarding the proposed Google Books Search settlement. Moderated by SFWA secretary Mary Robinette Kowal, the panelists included executive director Paul Aiken of the Authors Guild, editor Lou Anders of Pyr books, former SFWA president and author Michael Capobianco, author Charles Stross and librarian Lynne M. Thomas of Northern Illinois University. While the panelists provided a fruitful discussion and took questions from the public, here are five things I believe Paul Aiken should have disclosed:

1) A more illuminating biographical sketch of himself. Due to the fact that the website of the Authors Guild has no biography of Mr. Aiken, I took the time several months ago to compile some biographical notes.

2) A photograph of himself. Mr. Aiken is notoriously camera-shy, but here’s a few photographs of him attending a recent Authors Guild annual gala.

3) Whether, considering his position as a member of the board of directors of the Authors Registry, Mr. Aiken intends to seek a position on the board of directors of the proposed Book Rights Registry.

4) Whether, as a licensed and practicing attorney in the State of New York, Mr. Aiken stands to reap any of the approximately $30 million in legal fees that the plaintiffs' attorneys will receive under the proposed settlement.

5) Whether Google has ever made a financial contribution to either the Authors Guild or its sister organizations, the Authors Guild Foundation and the Authors League Fund.

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