As the opt-out deadline for the Google Book Settlement passed, many Canadian writers were still struggling to figure out what it all meant. Final-hour protests included a petition against the settlement circulated by the Facebook group “Canadian Writers Against Google Settlement” and by writer Sarah Sheard on her blog Writers’ Roundup. The petitition garnered hundreds of signatories, including Nino Ricci, who, like most of the signatories, chose to opt out of the Google agreement. “Did I do the right thing?” Ricci said afterwards to his wife, writer Erika de Vasconcelos, in a rare moment of candour and humility. “I haven’t got a f@%$!!#! clue.”
His sentiments echoed those of many writers around the world. Meanwhile, at Google headquarters in Mountain View, California, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin were unmoved. “What’s the big deal about books?” said Brin. “If it can be turned into digits, it’s fair game. Just because we control world knowledge doesn’t automatically make us bad guys.” Added Page, “Back in high school all the literary types called us geeks. Now we’re getting our revenge.”What did you learn in school today? Sharing.