- - - - As with most fields of business, if you want to collect money owed to you, you occasionally need to chase it up yourself (as your example demonstrates, if the putative author is having difficulty getting royalties from his existing publisher; maybe he'll have more luck if he contacts Google). - - - -
Many authors characterize that as "stealing from the helpless". Isaac Asimov wrote quite a bit about the difficulties he had extracting his royalties from various publishing houses, and that was at a point in his career where he was famous, reasonably wealthy, and could afford good lawyers to fight the thieves.
I'm fascinated by these romantic notions that people have about Google Inc. It did start out as an interesting research project by its founders. However, those founders then took venture capital money to "monetize" their research, indenturing themselves to the venture capital providers, and transformed their business into a gigantic advertising and personal data mining operation. They then took their business public, and today Google Inc. is a corporation publicly traded on the US markets whose stock price has risen from $100 at offer to $700. Its officers have a fiduciary duty to make money for their investors regardless of what the founders may have going in the way of small projects. And frankly, I have seen exactly zero public evidence that Page and Brin have any qualms about the money-vacuuming side of Google; certainly neither they nor Mr. Schmidt have any concerns about the affect of their actions on personal privacy.