Internet search giant Google and the Association of American Publishers (AAP) have ended seven years of litigation by having reached a settlement that will provide access to publishers’ in-copyright books and journals digitised by Google for its Google Library project.
The settlement acknowledges the rights and interests of copyright holders. US publishers can choose to make available or choose to remove their books and journals digitised by Google for its library project. Those that decide not to remove their works will have the option to receive a digital copy for their use.
Apart from the settlement, US publishers can continue to make individual agreements with Google for use of their other digitally-scanned works.
"Google is a company that puts innovation front and centre with all that it does," David Drummond, senior vice-president, corporate development and chief legal officer, Google, said in a statement.
"By putting this litigation with the publishers behind us, we can stay focused on our core mission and work to increase the number of books available to educate, excite and entertain our users via Google Play."
Tom Allen, president and CEO, AAP, said the settlement shows that digital services can provide innovative means to discover content while still respecting copyright holders’ rights.
Google Books allows users to browse up to 20pc of books and then purchase digital versions through Google Play. Under the agreement, books scanned by Google in the library project can now be included by publishers.
Further terms of the agreement are confidential.
The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.; Pearson Education, Inc. and Penguin Group (USA) Inc., both part of Pearson; John Wiley & Sons, Inc.; and Simon & Schuster, Inc. part of CBS Corporation, had filed the lawsuit against Google on 19 October 2005.
Paul Aiken, executive director, Authors Guild, said the publishers’ private settlement, whatever its terms, does not resolve the authors’ copyright infringement claims against Google.
"Our class-action lawsuit on behalf of US authors continues,” he said.