Two well-meaning ladies
"English-speaking countries: the US, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia ... 'countries with a common legal heritage and similar book industry practices'"
Ah yes: not New Zealand, where the Society of Authors strongly opposed the settlement and lobbied the NZ government till it agreed to look into their concerns.
And not India, where the legal system is also based on English common law, and which is said to be the third largest publisher of books in English in the world (after the US and the UK). India recently made diplomatic representations to the US government to the effect that the Google Book Settlement would encroach on the copyrights of Indian authors and publishers.
And not, interestingly enough, Ireland: another common law jurisdiction.
In the USA there has been, at least, a debate raging ever since the first version of the settlement was announced last year. Two US writers' organisations have come out against the settlement and joined the <a href="http://www.openbookalliance.org/">Open Book Alliance</a> that has been formed to fight it.
I have not seen any of this controversy properly reflected in the information about the Google Book Settlement that has been put out by the three main UK authors' organisations: the Society of Authors, the Writers Guild of Great Britain, and the Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society.
Nor has it been regularly covered by most of the UK news media. (The Register has been one of the few exceptions - along with the Financial Times.)
Many, probably most UK authors are still largely in the dark about the scope and detail of the settlement.
And now we see two prominent UK authors, Margaret Drabble and Maureen Duffy, join the tiny group of 'representative plaintiffs' in the Google Books class action case. Drabble is the Chairman of the UK Society of Authors. Duffy is the Honorary President of the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society.
Apart from the USA, the countries that are still in the GBS are those where the authors have not so far put up a strong resistance, and in particular those where the authors' organisations have gone along with the rosy view of the settlement that has been propagated by the US Authors Guild, one of its main instigators (along with the Association of American Publishers and, of course, Google Inc).
If you are a UK author and you don't like the idea of these two well-meaning ladies, without so much as asking you, opting you in to a dubious and highly detrimental quasi-contract, and granting your publishers an interest in rights - digital rights, US rights - that you may never have licensed to them in your contract, it is time to spread the word around and start lobbying the government. Only the government can get us out of this.