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IFJ Calls on Writers to Demand Their Rights from Google

October 30, 2009

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 the US, 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:
International Federation of Journalists
Phone: +32 2 235 2216

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