Pamela Samuelson: “Legally Speaking: The Dead Souls of the Google Booksearch Settlement”

Pamela Samuelson, Richard M. Sherman Distinguished Professor of Law and Information at the University of California, Berkeley, has posted an eprint of "Legally Speaking: The Dead Souls of the Google Booksearch Settlement" on O'Reilly Radar.

Here's an excerpt:

This column argues that the proposed settlement of this lawsuit is a privately negotiated compulsory license primarily designed to monetize millions of orphan works. It will benefit Google and certain authors and publishers, but it is questionable whether the authors of most books in the corpus (the "dead souls" to which the title refers) would agree that the settling authors and publishers will truly represent their interests when setting terms for access to the Book Search corpus.

(Note: See the Wikipedia entry on Nikolai Gogol's Dead Souls.)