In a letter addressed to journalists' unions
around the world, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has called
on all journalists who have had their books scanned by Google through its Google
Book Search to claim their rights to payment under a settlement in which Google
has agreed to compensate authors whose rights have been violated.
A dispute over Google scanning millions of
books led to a class action launched by United
States authors and publishers' groups for violation of US copyright
law. The action resulted in a settlement which was challenged in front of a US tribunal and
a new settlement will be proposed on 9 November.
"Journalists who wrote books or chapters that
have been scanned by Google without their permission have the right to claim
their authors' rights", says Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. "and they
should do so immediately. The Google settlement still contains provisions that
could severely affect journalists' rights, including what they are paid and their
moral rights. We need to follow what's going on, demand our rights and remain prudent."
To date, Google has scanned over 10 million
books. Authors from all over the world are affected. The current Google Book
settlement is offering $60 compensation for the
scanning of an entire book: an amount that is significantly less than the
minimum statutory damages of US $750 in
claims the IFJ.
"This settlement is expected to have
far-reaching impact on authors and the publishing industry", says White: "Specific
attention should be paid to the need for authors to receive a clear reward for
their work. Future plans of Google to scan newspapers and magazines need to be developed
in full consultation with authors".
For more information
contact the IFJ at
+32 2 235 2216
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists
in 123 countries worldwide