Here's the link
Google is in the process of digitizing books. The Google Settlement makes sure authors get paid for that. It's hard for me to understand why an agent would object to authors getting paid. I usually only object if my authors aren't getting paid enough.
Perhaps the answer is that I actually read the settlement and attended the two AAR sponsored programs on it. Ms. Chu states overtly in her first paragraph that if she read it at all, she didn't understand it ("understanding this monstrosity by May 5, 2009, is going to be rough")
Also, Ms Chu is wrong. The May 5, 2009 deadline is an opt-out deadline (not an opt-in or ignore). Unless you opt out, you are in the class, and covered by the settlement. If you opt-out, the only right you preserve is your right to sue Google for copyright infringement.
Ms Chu uses "class representatives" in quotes to indicate she questions that designation, and further asserts "no one elected" these people. Of course they weren't elected. They're plaintiffs in a lawsuit.
"Class representatives" is a designation in the lawsuit. It's not like class representatives to the Student Council. It's puzzling why anyone would expect a million authors to each do their own work on this case. The idea of people with similar concerns banding together to have a "class representative" in such lawsuits is one of the many reasons authors belong to the Authors Guild, publishers to the AAP and so on. I'm all for individual rights, but let's be sensible here.
Then, Ms. Chus is either uninformed about or simply ignoring the existing rights licensing and monitoring "quasi-judicial bureaucracies" (The quotes are multi-tasking here: I'm both quoting her and questioning the accuracy of the designation): BMI and ASCAP.
The music industry has long had several associations registering, monitoring, collecting, and disbursing licensing fees for music. I'm familiar with BMI and ASCAP but there are others. It's a pretty easy system to use. It's worked well for a long time. It's not perfect, no system is. What it does though is beat the hell out of each composer or rights holder trying to collect licensing fees individually.
What ASCAP and BMI do, and what the proposed Rights Licensing for Authors group will do, is offer a single place for people to register their works, and for people who want to license those works to obtain permission and render payment. This is a critical step in the Google Settlement because the value of a huge digitized body of works is not in a single work but in the completeness of the body.
In other words, a work has more value as part of the collection than by itself. Libraries will license a collection of works, but individual authors will get paid. A central rights clearing organization is the only efficient way to do this.
Ms Chu should in fact pay a royalty to Chicken Little for infringing on his sky is falling histrionics. For those who seek a more measured look at the settlement, The Author's Guild is a good place to start.