Google settles with American publishers after 7-year Google Library lawsuit

October 4, 2012
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Digitizing books and indexing the contents thereof might seem like a good idea, if only to increase access to content. But when Google launched its Library project, a lot of publishers voiced dissent, saying Google was infringing on their intellectual property.

In 2005, a group of copyright holders filed a lawsuit against Google, including McGraw-Hill, Pearson Education, Penguin Group, John Wiley & Sons, and Simon & Schuster. With the lawsuit pending in the courts, Google had been unable to include books published by these companies into its Google Books website, which offered digital access to content through Google Play.

After seven years in litigation, Google has agreed to settle with the publishers, although the terms of the settlement are confidential. The publishing industry has lauded this development. Tom Allen, president and CEO of the Association of American Publishers, has expressed approval. “It shows that digital services can provide innovative means to discover content while still respecting the rights of copyright-holders.”

Meanwhile, Google says it can now continue working on its core business of ensuring wider access to information. “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,” says David Drummond, senior VP for Corporate Development and Chief Legal Officer.

Google Books enables users to browse up to 20% of a book or publication’s content, after which the entire publication can be bought through Google Play. This model offers wider access to information, and at the same time gives publishers the ability to monetize their content through a wider audience.

However, not everyone is happy. The Authors Guild says Google still continues to profit unfairly, leaving artists on the losing end of the bargain.

The publishers’ private settlement, whatever its terms, does not resolve the authors’ copyright infringement claims against Google. Google continues to profit from its use of millions of copyright-protected books without regard to authors’ rights, and our class-action lawsuit on behalf of U.S. authors continues.

As such, the separate class-action lawsuit continues, and Google will still have to deal with this.

Show Press Release

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. and WASHINGTON, Oct. 4, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Association of American Publishers (AAP) and Google today announced a settlement agreement that will provide access to publishers’ in-copyright books and journals digitized by Google for its Google Library Project.  The dismissal of the lawsuit will end seven years of litigation.

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

The settlement acknowledges the rights and interests of copyright-holders.  U.S. publishers can choose to make available or choose to remove their books and journals digitized by Google for its Library Project.  Those deciding not to remove their works will have the option to receive a digital copy for their use.

Apart from the settlement, U.S. publishers can continue to make individual agreements with Google for use of their other digitally-scanned works.

“We are pleased that this settlement addresses the issues that led to the litigation,” said Tom Allen, President and CEO, AAP.  ”It shows that digital services can provide innovative means to discover content while still respecting the rights of copyright-holders.”

“Google is a company that puts innovation front and center with all that it does,” said David Drummond, Senior Vice President, Corporate Development and Chief Legal Officer, Google.  “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.”

Google Books allows users to browse up to 20% 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.

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, 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.

About the Association of American Publishers
The 300 members of AAP are building the future of publishing.  AAP represents America’s premier creators of high-quality entertainment, education, scientific and professional published content.  We dedicate the creative, intellectual, financial and technological investments to bring great ideas to life and deliver content to the world’s audiences in all the ways they seek it.

About Google Inc.
Google is a global technology leader focused on improving the ways people connect with information. Google’s innovations in web search and advertising have made its website a top Internet property and its brand one of the most recognized in the world.

Google is a trademark of Google Inc. All other company and product names may be trademarks of the respective companies with which they are associated.

SOURCE Association of American Publishers

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