Australia seems to be experiencing big problems in this area. The Sydney Morning Herald recently had an article called “Authors Ready to Throw the Book at Online Pirates.”
Feel like reading Australian author Colleen McCullough's Thorn Birds, but don't want to pay for a copy?The article goes into the recent battle between Google, who wants to digitize every book, and authors, who want to be paid for their work.
Then just hop onto a site like Wattpad.com and the book is available free as an electronic download. While this might be a bonus for readers, it is a disaster for authors, who get no royalties from the downloads.”
Under the settlement Google agreed to establish an independent "Book Rights Registry" which will provide revenue from sales and advertising to authors and publishers who agree to digitise their books. Publishers and authors are now in the process of opting in or out of the Google settlement.There’s also talk about Scribd, a start-up that started as a document-sharing website and has morphed into a vanity publisher.
The executive director of the Australian Society of Authors, Jeremy Fisher, said the Google settlement was an important acknowledgement that authors owned the copyright. But there is still seething resentment about the way Google has gone about digitising copyright material without permission.
Until now it has been the most popular of document-sharing sites, allowing authors to upload chapters of their books, power points or research reports, in the same way as people can upload video to YouTube.My guess is that most authors would welcome the 80% revenue of Scribd and the 60% of Google. But I don’t know of any authors willing to have their work given away for free.
But it now plans to set up a new store to allow authors to publish their works and set their own price, in an arrangement that will allow authors to keep 80 per cent of the revenue.