Monday, November 16, 2009

Google Book Settlement: The Thing That Would Not Die

Thanks to all the people who have worked so hard on this baffling and irritating situation. Some good results have come of your diligence. One big one is that prior to these changes, Google had it that any book not currently available new in the US was considered not in print, so anything in any other country was up for grabs for making available without compensation through the Google Books project. No more, thank heaven. Read on...

Important Amendments to the Google Book Settlement

On November 13, 2009, Google, the Authors Guild, Inc. and the Association of American Publishers filed an Amended Settlement Agreement with the court.

Revised deadlines include:
  • The deadline to remove books has been extended to March 9, 2012.
  • The deadline to make a claim for cash payments has been extended to March 31, 2011.
  • The deadline to opt-out of the Amended Settlement Agreement has not been announced. If you opted-out previously, you do not have to opt-out again. You will however receive notice of the Amended Settlement Agreement directly from Google.
  • If you opted-out, and now would like to “opt back in”, you may do so. The deadline for “opting back in” has not been set.
  • The Fairness Hearing has not been rescheduled yet.
Some substantive changes made to the settlement agreement include:

1. The settlement agreement now only applies to books published in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia (in contrast to applying to books published virtually anywhere in the world). Books published in Canada, the U.K. and Australia do not need to have been registered with the U.S. Copyright Office to be included under the settlement.

2. A book is now designated as being commercially available if it is available for sale new, from sellers anywhere in the world, to purchasers within the United States, Canada, the U.K. and Australia.

3. Children’s book illustrations are no longer included in the settlement, unless the rightsholder of the book is also the illustrator.

4. An “Unclaimed Works Fiduciary” will be appointed to represent the interests of the rightsholders of “unclaimed” books (i.e. unlocatable or orphan works). The royalties collected for the use of such works will not be used by the Book Rights Registry for its operations or distributed to other rightsholders. The funds will be held by the Registry and used to search for rightsholders and may be distributed to literacy-based charities after ten years.

5. The Book Rights Registry will have one publisher and one author on its board of directors from each participating country, including Canada.

6. The deadline for rightsholders to claim works and receive certain royalties has been extended from five years to ten years.

7. Rightsholders have enhanced powers to negotiate certain revenue splits and display use features directly with Google.

8. Future revenue models and uses of books are no longer unlimited. Only Print on Demand, File Download and Consumer Subscription models may be negotiated between Google and the Book Rights Registry.

9. Third party resellers will be able to sell books through the Consumer Purchase model to end users and retain a majority of Google’s share of the royalty.

10. The Book Rights Registry will monitor Google’s use and display of books outside the United States, on request.

Please visit the Google Book Settlement website for more information.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Addena on the Drive

Fellow Wattle and Daub author and dear friend Addena Sumter-Freitag is interviewed here by Steven Duncan of Live on the Drive. (That's Commercial Drive, Vancouver, BC, for the uninitiated.)

Isn't she lovely?

Monday, November 02, 2009

Creating Timelines

How to SORT OF hunker down and work while finding a way to blog instead? Easy! Let me show you.

Since Draft One of Lakansyèl I've created a lot more scenes (a LOT more scenes) which need to be plugged in where appropriate through the text and then filed smooth. Daunting? You bet!

I figure the miracle tool I need to get me out of this quagmire is a timeline program that I can input the various actions into and see where I need to go. This is the best thing I've found so far.

I did try Liquid Story Binder XE, but it crashed after I input two character names and I thought, Self. This sucks. Try something else.

This one is an Excel timeline, worked up by someone who likes to do these things, who also teaches you how to do it yourself if you don't want to use his template. I'm going to play around with it now. Meanwhile, if you come across any even simpler programs, let me know. I'm looking for something I can keep adding into, rather than having to know in advance how many columns I'm going to need. Not having used Excel almost at all, I'm not sure if this is the answer, but I'm hoping it is.

Thanks Jon!

Excerpted below:

There are many ways to create a timeline in Excel, but most of the methods I have seen make use of the drawing tools or bar charts or a gantt chart for project timelines. I wrote an article about this a while back (see Timelines in Excel).

Well, I am happy to say that I have finally found an easier way to rapidly create timelines. This means being able to quickly make timelines for various historical periods or documenting events in a person's life (for historical timelines, geneology projects, school reports, etc.). The figure below is an example, showing some of the events in the life of Benjamin Franklin.

Timeline Chart in Excel Showing Events in the Life of Benjamin Franklin
Figure 1: An Excel chart showing an example timeline.

If you don't have time to learn how the timeline is created, and want to just jump right in and create your own timeline, go ahead and download the Excel Timeline Template below.

Project Timeline Template

Excel Timeline Template

This template creates a timeline using an XY chart with error bars as leader lines. The first worksheet contains the example timeline above. The second worksheet contains a project timeline example, where the time scale is days rather than years.

No Installation, No Macros - Just a simple spreadsheet

Download the Timeline Template Download Now

Cost: Free ($0.00)
License: Personal Use Only

File Type: .xls (~50KB)
Required: Microsoft Excel® 2002(XP), 2003, or 2007

This article provides a tutorial describing how to create a timeline like the one above, from scratch (without requiring any macros or VBA). I won't go into detail on some of the specific formatting used to fancy up the chart, but the necessary details are listed below...

- Wittwer, J.W., "How to Create a Timeline in Excel" from, Sep 2, 2005,

Ah! Pretty cool, eh? Here I am half an hour later with the beautiful beginnings of a life-saving timeline: