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    Google Books Settlement A Possible Path To Resolution Of Digital Content Disputes

    Published on 30 October 2008 @ 4:47 pm

    Intellectual Property Watch

    By Dugie Standeford for Intellectual Property Watch
    Google’s groundbreaking settlement of copyright infringement claims by authors and book publishers this week resonates beyond the United States, the European Commission and a UK copyright lawyer said. While the agreement affects only US users of Google Book Search, it points the way toward possible solutions to the overarching question of how to make digital content available while protecting intellectual property rights, they said.

    The 28 October settlement ends class-action litigation brought by book authors and the Authors Guild and a separate lawsuit by five key publishers representing the American Association of Publishers (AAP), the parties said. The class action agreement is subject to approval by a US federal court.

    The settlement is expected to make millions of in-copyright, out-of-print books available online, and to give their authors control over, and payment for, access to them, the parties said. US readers trawling Google Book Search will have access to up to 20 percent of a book’s pages instead of the snippets available now, Authors Guild Executive Director Paul Aiken said at a press briefing. They can then buy the book outright or purchase online access at a price to be set either by the rights holder or by a Google algorithm, said AAP Board Chairman David Sarnoff.

    As part of the deal, the search giant will pay $125 million, $34.5 million of which will fund an independent Book Rights Registry to distribute payments from online access, locate rights owners, collect and maintain accurate rights holder information and allow IP owners to opt in and out of the project, the parties said. Google will receive 37 percent of usage fees, the registry the remaining 63 percent, Sarnoff said. The rest of the settlement funds will pay existing claims and legal fees, the parties said.

    Institutional users such as libraries, government offices and universities will be able to buy subscriptions to entire in-copyright, out-of-print books, with fees to be split between Google and the registry, Aiken said. Google will track usage and apportion institutional rates based on the numbers of hits various books receive online, he said. Some issues, such as how each hit will be weighted to determine the amount of money to be paid, remain unresolved, he said. US public and university libraries also will be allowed to offer free, full-text online viewing of millions of out-of-print books at designated computers as part of the deal, the parties said.

    In addition to fees generated by online usage and subscriptions, authors whose works Google has already scanned will receive around $60 per book, the parties said. Rights holders who agree to leave their books in the programme will get a $200 inclusion fee, Sarnoff said.

    Google will place advertisements around and under the pages of text but not on the initial search results page, said David Drummond, Google senior vice president, corporate development, and chief legal officer. Google and the registry will share advertising revenues in the same 37:63 percent ratio, he said. The financial model “is a brand new world,” one that Google hopes is successful, Drummond said.

    ‘A Good Day for Copyright’

    The deal has implications outside the US, said UK intellectual property lawyer Laurence Kaye. It “shows that Google’s activities beyond pure search are within the boundaries of copyright and sets the scene for more licensing deals,” he said. These could be “machine-to-machine” direct licences such as those under the Automated Content Access Protocol (ACAP), arrangements between individual content owners and Google, licences granted by collecting societies, or something else, Kaye said.

    “It’s a good day for copyright,” Kaye added.

    ACAP Chair Gavin O’Reilly welcomed the settlement, saying it “paves the way for all rights holders, regardless of their chosen business model or rights management systems, to get the appropriate reward for their efforts – while at the same time ensuring the widest possible access.”

    The agreement shows that it is possible for industries with diverging interests in the digital environment to find mutually beneficial solutions, said a spokesman for the European Commission Information Society and Media Directorate-General. Consensus is a key element of the Commission’s content online initiative, he said.

    One example of its policies is the digital libraries initiative to make books, paintings, archival records and other materials available on the Web, the spokesman said. The library, dubbed “Europeana,” launches 20 November, he said.

    Simultaneously, the High Level Group on Digital Libraries, whose members represent cultural institutions, technology firms, publishers and other rights owners, is addressing key questions on how to make cultural content available on the internet while protecting IP rights and other interests, the spokesman said. Among other things, it has proposed practical ways for making out-of-print works available online while avoiding or limiting lawsuits, he said.

    Dugie Standeford may be reached at info@ip-watch.ch.

     

    Comments

    1. Jim Carlile says:

      It’s interesting that Google doesn’t say whether they are going to allow actual downloads of in-copyright books to the subscribing institutions or schools. Right now they offer downloads for pre-1923 PD works, but not any later ones, or full-views, either. Their requirement with the UC host library requires them to make full-view PD scans available of all PD books, but not necessarily downloads. Wonder what will transpire– will people be chained to their online computers in order to access Google Books content?

    2. Numérisation (10/11/08) « pintiniblog says:

      [...] – Google Books : le prix de la tranquillité (et du monopole) (source: affordance.info, 28/10/08) [lire aussi] [lire [...]

    3. heidi says:

      It will be intersting to see what Google will try next.


    Leave a Reply

    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website. By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website.

    By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    1. You agree that you are fully responsible for the content that you post. You will not knowingly post content that violates the copyright, trademark, patent or other intellectual property right of any third party or which you know is under a confidentiality obligation preventing its publication and that you will request removal of the same should you discover that you have violated this provision. Likewise, you may not post content that is libelous, defamatory, obscene, abusive, that violates a third party's right to privacy, that otherwise violates any applicable local, state, national or international law, that amounts to spamming or that is otherwise inappropriate. You may not post content that degrades others on the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual preference, disability or other classification. Epithets and other language intended to intimidate or to incite violence are also prohibited. Furthermore, you may not impersonate others.

    2. You understand and agree that Intellectual Property Watch is not responsible for any content posted by you or third parties. You further understand that IP Watch does not monitor the content posted. Nevertheless, IP Watch may monitor the any user-generated content as it chooses and reserves the right to remove, edit or otherwise alter content that it deems inappropriate for any reason whatever without consent nor notice. We further reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to remove a user's privilege to post content on our site. IP Watch is not in any manner endorsing the content of the discussion forums and cannot and will not vouch for its reliability or otherwise accept liability for it.

    3. By submitting any contribution to IP Watch, you warrant that your contribution is your own original work and that you have the right to make it available to IP Watch for all purposes and you agree to indemnify IP Watch, its directors, employees and agents against all damages, legal fees and others expenses that may be incurred by IP Watch as a result of your breach of warranty or of these terms.

    4. You further agree not to publish any personal information about yourself or anyone else (for example telephone number or home address). If you add a comment to a blog, be aware that your email address will be apparent.

    5. IP Watch will not be liable for any loss including but not limited to the following (whether such losses are foreseen, known or otherwise): loss of data, loss of revenue or anticipated profit, loss of business, loss of opportunity, loss of goodwill or injury to reputation, losses suffered by third parties, any indirect, consequential or exemplary damages.

    6. You understand and agree that the discussion forums are to be used only for non-commercial purposes. You may not solicit funds, promote commercial entities or otherwise engage in commercial activity in our discussion forums.

    7. You acknowledge and agree that you use and/or rely on any information obtained through the discussion forums at your own risk.

    8. For any content that you post, you hereby grant to IP Watch the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual, exclusive and fully sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part, world-wide and to incorporate it in other works, in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

    9. These terms and your posts and contributions shall be governed and interpreted in accordance with the laws of Switzerland (without giving effect to conflict of laws principles thereof) and any dispute exclusively settled by the Courts of the Canton of Geneva.

     

     
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