Your copyrights and google

In 2004, Google made arrangements with the University of Michigan to digitize their entire library, some seven or eight million volumes.  Google planned to make this library available to the public, presumably for some kind of fee.  In exchange, the university would get a copy of the digital library.  And writers and publishers were not considered part of the exchange at all.


The Author’s Guild did heroic battle on all our behalfs and reached a settlement with Google.  The settlement runs to 375 pages so I won’t try to go into details; you can get them at the Author’s Guild website.  In a nutshell, though, the Guild is setting up, with the American Association of Publishers and with Google, a Book Rights Repository (BRR), which will be the legal entity charged with making sure that writers are paid for the use of their  books.  Every writer, whether a member of the Guild or not, should create an account with the BRR.  This account will make it possible for you to manage your books and to submit claims for royalties.


You may also choose whether or not to let your books be sold through Google’s electronic database.  If your book(s) are out of print, the default setting is that you allow their sale.  If your book(s) are in print, the default setting is that you do NOT allow their sale.  You manage all this through your BRR entry.  In-print books include self-published, or electronically published books as well as paper titles released through a publishing company.,


There is no master list of books that Google has digitized; you have to submit a claim through your BRR account, and the BRR staff will see that you get paid if improper use has been made of your material.


There are a lot of details about how royalties are assessed, how you work with your publisher, and so on, that I don’t have at my fingertips, but to set up an account, go to    The site will step you through the process.



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May 2022