Outside the US, there’s been a slow dawning that the very complex, far-reaching Google Book settlement will have important implications for foreign rightsholders too. It will drag many into something they had no say over, driven by parties with no mandate to represent them.
In New Zealand, it hasn’t been well-received, particularly by authors following this legal opinion from their association, the New Zealand Society of Authors.
The idea that a private settlement by private US parties serving their own interests will drag rightsholders from all around the world into Google’s net has got blood boiling. It’s being compared to a situation that led to an icon of local protest. In the 1980s, tiny New Zealand stared down US pressure to impose a statutory ban on visits by US nuclear armed or powered warships which still holds today.
The purple prose coming from the New Zealand Society of Authors suggests a literary canon overflowing with airport potboilers. The deal is cultural imperialism on a par with the 1980s US flexing of military might over nuclear ship visits, says the Auckland branch secretary of the Society of Authors, Adrian Blackburn. ” … This monopolistic pre-emptive grab by a hugely wealthy US business – ‘we’ll just do it and you can sue us if you can afford to’ – is an arrogant flexing of business muscle …