Google, Publishers Reach Digital Library Settlement

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The Association of American Publishers (AAP) and Google Inc. have reached a settlement in a seven-year copyright dispute involving the Google Library Project, allowing the inclusion of copyrighted digital works.

The case is separate from a legal dispute involving the Authors Guild, according to the two sides.

Under the settlement, announced in a joint press release, Google will allow users to browse up to 20 percent of a book’s content, and then enable them to purchase digital copies through Google Play.

“Under the agreement, books scanned by Google in the Library Project can now be included by publishers,” the release said.

The agreement settles a copyright infringement lawsuit filed against Google on 19 October 2005 by five AAP member publishers, it said. “As the settlement is between the parties to the litigation, the court is not required to approve its terms.”

The rest of the terms of the agreement are confidential, the parties said.

This settlement does not affect Google’s current litigation with the Authors Guild or otherwise address the underlying questions in that suit.

The publisher plaintiffs are: The McGraw-Hill Companies; Pearson Education and Penguin Group (USA), both part of Pearson; John Wiley & Sons; and Simon & Schuster, part of CBS Corporation.

“Today’s news not only further establishes the value of copyright, but also points to the importance of working with rightsholders when undertaking mass digitization. Collaboration is key when it comes to copyright,” Michael Healy, Copyright Clearance Center executive director, author and publisher relations and former executive director (designate) at Google’s proposed Book Rights Registry, said in a statement.

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