I can add nothing intelligent to the Google takeover of the literary universe, so there is no need for you, dear reader, to wait for my keen insight. There isn't one. Mostly, I just want to squeeze my eyes tightly shut and wish the conundrum away. But that's not possible. And it's not a question of That Awful Google, which is also hosting this blog, though I do worry a bit about any company worth billions that innocently states, Don't Be Evil. Sure, that and five dollars will buy you a great piece of real estate in Florida. No, if it wasn't Google it would be some other giant word-sucking digital vacuum cleaning up after authors.
And, to quote the character played by Mel Gibson in Signs (one of my favorite movies of all time, though perhaps not for the reasons one might think,) "It might be good. Might be bad." Yup, the space aliens have landed and writers are doomed. Or maybe not. (This is where I am not intelligent. I have no idea whether the Google Settlement, should it be approved, will ultimately be good for writers or not. I get a headache just thinking about it.)
But Google has put writers in the interesting position of having to re-claim their own work. To wave their collective hand in the air and say, "Yes, the work you have just stolen is mine, and thank you so much for screwing me over and giving me a few dollars for my efforts. We're just so darned grateful!" What's not to love?
You, dear reader, have probably detected a tone of cynicism in my words. Yes, it is there. But still, I am open to the vacuum-suck that is going on, because the Powers of the Universe, i.e., Google and lovers of all things digital, or LOATDs, (as opposed to those who consider consequences before they hit accept) have agreed that what's mine is theirs and proceeded as such, and, as an author, whatcha gonna do? I don't think Ghost Busters can help.
But it would have been nice of The Google to ask first. Really. The Glorious Future that you, Dear Google, have envisioned might indeed come to pass, and I might end up a happy participant. But you didn't play nice, and you took stuff that wasn't yours. Miss Manners would be horrified.