Law Suit Settled: Green Light on Google Books Library Project

By October 29, 2008

The Google Books Library Project is a daunting initiative to catalogue and give exposure to the millions of books in existence at several major libraries. A book profile in the database generally included some or all of the book, cover art, and information on where to purchase or access a physical copy of the book, which is especially useful if the book is obscure and out of print. About 3 years ago, the Association of American Publishers and the Authors Guild stalled Google’s project, filing a class action against the Menlo Park-based Corporation for willful copyright infringement. On October 28, the parties reached a settlement, and the library project can now continue without disturbance, pending court approval. It appears it will soon be possible for anyone in the United States to view and purchase nearly every title possible.

The settlement expands the amount of scanned excerpts from books and enables users to purchase complete texts online. Google will then pay $34.5 million for a Book Rights Registry, which will coordinate payments to copyright holders. The settlement also stipulates that any sale and advertising revenue that results from the Google Books service will be directed 63 percent to copyright holders and 37 percent to Google.

Both parties appear to be satisfied with the settlement. Google made the announcement by posting 6 foreseeable changes to Google Books that they expect will result from the settlement, which is expected to be ruled on by the coming summer.

"This may be the biggest book deal in publishing history," guild executive director Paul Aiken said shortly after announcing their settlement with Google.

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