Many years ago, I wrote a biography of a woman called Maria Rye who was involved in first-wave feminism during the 1850s and 1860s. The details aren’t important now – because without asking my permission, Google digitized the whole thing.
Google did this a lot, a few years back. Google, you see, is a monster. Many authors protested at this abuse of their copyright, and eventually there was a settlement, but since they had sued in an American court, the settlement only really provided compensation for American authors. Anyone else had to accept a derisory amount of money, or take up the case individually in an American court – which was, of course, impossible. And since Google didn’t notify us of the deal and there was a cut-off date, most of us got nothing. Which is fine, really, since the only royalties I ever got came in American dollars, in amounts smaller than the cost of banking the cheques and converting them to Australian dollars. Continue reading