What to Expect From the Book Rights Registry: A Q&A With the New Executive Director, Michael HealyJuly 31, 2009 By Heather Fletcher
Michael Healy has a huge task ahead of him as the first executive director of the Book Rights Registry, the creation of which was a stipulation of the Google Book Search settlement agreement between the online search giant and industry organizations including the Association of American Publishers and The Authors Guild.
The Book Rights Registry (pending the approval of the settlement at the fairness hearing on Oct. 7) will oversee the collection and disbursement of revenue from the Google Library Program to authors, publishers and other rights holders, as well as resolve disputes and handle other responsibilities outlined in the settlement agreement.
Healy, who is currently the executive director of the industry organization Book Industry Study Group (a position from which he is anticipated to step down this fall), will be responsible for ensuring the Book Rights Registry makes the necessary cash payments to copyright holders whose works were digitized by Google without their permission as part of the Google Library Program. Then, he will have to oversee database organization for all the works digitized as part of the Program (which currently includes more than 7 million books).
Healy spoke with Book Business Extra about functions and goals of the new Book Rights Registry.
Book Business Extra: What is your vision for the Book Rights Registry?
Michael Healy: … When I think of my vision for the registry, I take as my set of guiding principles … the duties and responsibilities for the registry that are set out in the settlement agreement. And it's very clear: The registry exists to identify rights holders and to administer, for the benefit of the rights holders, the settlement in its entirety.
So my job, when I'm running the registry, is to make sure that the maximum number of rights holders who are entitled to benefit under the terms of the settlement, do benefit. And my job is to make that process for them as seamless and as simple and as straightforward as it can possibly be.