Google Settles Suit Over Book-Scanning Project


Google, the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers have settled a class-action lawsuit over Google’s book-scanning project.

The company and the book groups said Tuesday that Google would pay $125 million and legal fees to resolve claims by authors and publishers.
Full story here.

Another commentator (Tony Bandy) offered this from the Google site and specifically his favorite quote:

  • "...We'll also be offering libraries, universities and other organizations the ability to purchase institutional subscriptions, which will give users access to the complete text of millions of titles while compensating authors and publishers for the service. Students and researchers will have access to an electronic library that combines the collections from many of the top universities across the country. Public and university libraries in the U.S. will also be able to offer terminals where readers can access the full text of millions of out-of-print books for free...."
  • Comments

    The Google Settlement - From the Universal Library to the Universal Bookstore

    If you think about it, a universal bookstore is a pretty cool idea. Bookstores are wonderful things. Anyone can walk into bookstore, take a book off a shelf, read in it, decide whether to buy it or forget about it, or get it from the library. The settlement announced today by Google, the Association of American Publishers, and the Authors Guild will in time make it possible for millions of books, currently out of print and in-copyright, to be perused, searched and purchased (or not) in an electronic bookstore that will be operated by Google.

    Full blog entry here.

    Links to documents related to the lawsuit.

    Google Settlement a Win-Win for All

    In 2004, Google began a project of scanning and making available online books from around the world. Publishers and authors brought a class action suit against Google, claiming Google’s project violated authors’ copyright protections as Google did not gain permission from the copyright owner to display scanned content from copyrighted books. After 3 years of negotiations, the publishers, authors, and Google reached an agreement (subject to court approval). Google will pay $125 million to “establish the Book Rights Registry, to resolve existing claims by authors and publishers and to cover legal fees.” The Book Rights Registry will allow copyright owners to register their work and receive payment for book sales and ad revenue and Google will be able to continue its book-scanning project.

    Full blog entry here.

    It continues to baffle me that it took approximately three years of litigation to get this far. That's three years of lost gains and potential lost revenues. Makes my head hurt to think that so much time was wasted. Recall, if you will, that during this dead period, Amazon was able to introduce the closed-system Kindle, creating another kind of pressure on publishers to fall in line with an Internet giant.

    Full blog entry here.

    First Impressions of the Google Books Settlement

    The agreement really focuses on in-copyright but out-of-print books. That is, books that can't normally be copied but also can't be purchased anywhere. Highlighting these books (which are numerous; most academic books, e.g., are out-of-print and have virtually no market) was smart for Google since it seems to provide value without stepping on publishers' toes.

    Full blog entry here.

    Google Announces Settlement in AAP Lawsuit

    This agreement may make Google the eBook leader ahead of although we will not know this until the dust settles. That eventuality however, will be exactly what publishers will be looking for as they have become increasingly concerned about the position and power of the Amazon eBook (Kindle) offering.

    Full blog entry here.

    Article above also mentions this:
    The agreement also calls for the creation of a rights registry which will create a bibliographic database of copyright ownership information. There will be motivation for publishers and authors to maintain their information in this database since this will be the mechanism used to ensure that they get compensated.