Best-selling authors J.K. Rowling and Philip Pullman, along with several other major British writers, are voicing strong disapproval of a financial agreement Google is offering authors to make their books available online, reports Times Online.
After settling a class action lawsuit in US courts, the internet media company has issued a plan to pay writers 60 dollars for each title that can be partially viewed online, with an additional revenue sharing option for any money made from its use.
Pullman’s agent Cardoc King characterized the offer as “clearly for the benefit of Google,” and Rowling’s legal representative at the Christopher Little agency said Google’s settlement attempts to “change US and international copyright rules.”
While Google Books makes free, unlimited viewing available for books that are out of copyright or no longer commercially available, the service has goals of offering wider access to more contemporary material through an online store. Because it has brokered deals with several major libraries, including those at Harvard and Oxford University, Google already has thousands of copyrighted publications scanned on its servers, which initially drew scrutiny from industry groups such as The Authors Guild of America.
Now the question of which scans will be made available, and to what extent, is up for debate. Other authors considering a boycott of Google Books include Ursula K. Le Guin, Helen Oyeyemi, and Nick Harkaway.
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