September 8, 2009
Today SFLC filed a letter with the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York objecting to the Google Book Search Copyright Class Action Settlement. In the letter, filed on behalf of the FSF and author Karl Fogel, SFLC asks the court to consider the impact of the settlement upon members of the class who have distributed their works under Free licenses.
While the FSF objects to the settlement on other grounds, this letter highlights how the proposed settlement does not contemplate works distributed under the GNU Free Documentation License (the FDL) or the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 license (the CC-BY-SA). If the Settlement is approved, Google will be authorized to continue to digitize, sell and partially display books without complying with the "copyleft" and "share alike" license terms which are essential to the freedom granted by these licenses.
The letter urges the Court to reject the proposed settlement until these and other objections are addressed, including that terms are incorporated to protect the authors of freely licensed works and a framework is provided for the Book Rights Registry that respects the choice of authors to share their works. The full text of the letter is available here (pdf).