Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Google Settles Lawsuit With U.S. Authors and Publishers

Google, the Authors Guild (representing thousands of U.S. writers) and the Association of American Publishers announced today that they have reached a settlement in a 3-year dispute over the search giant's book digitization and search project.

In 2005, the Guild sued Google, accusing it of massive copyright violation, claiming Google cannot make available books for commercial use without permission. The publishers group later launched its own lawsuit.

As part of the digitization effort, Google is scanning all or parts of the book collections of its institutional partners such as the University of Michigan, Harvard University, Stanford University, and Oxford University. Google then makes snippets of those texts searchable on Google and sell ads on the Web pages.

Google has agreed to pay $125-million U.S. to the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers. Under the settlement, Google will create a Book Registry and provide payment to copyright holders through subscription fees and sales revenues.

The settlement will expand access to hard-to-find out-of-print books that are still copyright-protected; allow ordinary users ways to buy copyrighted works online; offer U.S. colleges, universities and other organizations subscriptions for online access to collections from prestigious libraries; and provide free, full-text, online viewing of millions of out-of-print books at designated computers in public and university libraries (U.S. only for now).

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:59 pm


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am an author (which suggests I am literate) but still don't get the main gist of the Google suit/settlement.

Does this mean - Google is the unilateral online publisher/controller for out of print books? Does this mean- as an author those electronic rights I once thought were of value in a contract for print books - really- inevitably will become part of Google's domain? (When/if my book goes out of print and/or unless I opt out?

In print book contracts, there is usually a provision that allows an author to audit a publisher's books. Who will be auditing Google re: books bought, borrowed, downloaded and royalty tallies kept?
And last - didn't Amazon/Kindle and other digital publishers balk at this?
I am an author with one book in print and two briefly out of print and reverted to me. I am still unsure what decision to make.

9:51 pm  

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