The Great Book Robbery

A call to arms – something I usually avoid – but Google Books has put the biography of George R. Stewart on the web without a by-your-leave or any compensation.

I suppose it could be argued that this act of piracy and theft of years of hard work is justified as a kind of payment for g-mail and Google search.  However, with no permission requested or given it seems to me to be a violation of copyright.

I’ll be pursuing this with the publisher and my agent, and will keep the readers of this weblog posted.

Now, back to the regular posts, celebrating George R. Stewart and his work.

PS, 3 days later:  After doing some research, I’ve discovered that such posting of a work online is legal – in the pro-corporate USA (not in Europe).   But they have only posted the first 19 pages or so, so in way it is simply an appetizer.  Who knows?  Maybe it’ll sell a few books.  Still, Google should be required to have the author’s permission to post a work still in print.


3 thoughts on “The Great Book Robbery

  1. This has happened a lot of times to many authors, including Tolkien and Ann Golan and others. I hope you have a lawyer because it can be really hard to get them to let go of what they have stolen.

  2. Thanks, Marilyn. As things turn out, I was only partly correct – the courts have decided that Google, under fair use, can put snippets of a book on Google books. When I first looked at the page it seemed they’d put the entire book online, but on a second look I saw that it only includes the material to page 19 – so a kind of ad for the book. Still, they should have the courtesy to check with me. By the way, GRS had the same issue – Lerner and Loew “borrowed” Maria from Storm for Paint Your Wagon. His neighbor, Carol Hart, strongly encouraged a lawsuit, but he demurred.

    • Tolkien died before his case was finished. His son, Simon, finally got the rights back. Ditto Shirley Jackson. Her kids eventually won the rights back. Ann Golan fought her publisher for more than 50 years. She was in her 90s when she finally won. A bit late as she died shortly afterwards. I followed these cases for years because they were books in which i was interested. There are a lot of lawsuits that you can eventually win, if you live long enough or your kids take over when you are gone, but I guess you have to decide if that’s what you want to do with your life. It’s not an easy call.

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