Acclaimed writer Ursula Kroeber LeGuin (read her!) has launched a petition calling US writers and publishers to join her in preventing Google from digitizing works without consent. Kim Stanley Robinson is one among 367 other writers who has joined her. The petition was submitted to a US judge for consideration on January 26, 2010, in view of a Fairness Hearing on February 18, 2010.
The free and open dissemination of information and of literature, as it exists in our Public Libraries, can and should exist in the electronic media. All authors hope for that. But we cannot have free and open dissemination of information and literature unless the use of written material continues to be controlled by those who write it or own legitimate right in it. We urge our government and our courts to allow no corporation to circumvent copyright law or dictate the terms of that control.
Ursula K. LeGuin resigned from the (US) Authors Guild over this issue in December 2009 after the Guild settled legal dispute with Google Books in October 2008 (the "Google Book Search Settlement Agreement"). Copyright issues and Google Book digitization has been a matter of public debate all over the world throughout 2009.
Ireland, India, South Africa, and New Zealand (countries with active publication in English) protested the settlement and have been exempted from it. The governments of Germany and France protested unregulated digitization and have been exempted from the Settlement (and the French Government is suing Google for illegal digitization of copyrighted property.) We ask that the United States also be exempted from the settlement.
The news has been relayed by several media and the UKL petition continues to be discussed at Book View Cafe Blog.
(photo of Ursula K. LeGuin by Marian Wood Kolisch)
Also, two more KSR appearances in California have been listed, for February and March:
A reading with Kim Stanley Robinson and Terry Bisson
Pegasus Books Downtown, on Thursday Feb-25-2010, 7:30pm
2349 Shattuck Avenue
Berkeley, California 94704, USA
Appearance of Kim Stanley Robinson and many other interesting speakers
15th Annual Bay Area Anarchist Book Fair
SF County Fair Building, Golden Gate Park, 9th Ave. and Lincoln Way
San Francisco, California, USA