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Google, publishers settle long-running copyright case

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 04 October, 2012, 10:57pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 04 October, 2012, 11:01pm

Google and US publishing firms announced Thursday they reached a settlement in a long-running copyright case over books and journals digitized by the Internet giant.

The settlement “will provide access to publishers’ in-copyright books and journals digitized by Google for its Google Library Project” and “will end seven years of litigation,” Google said in a joint statement with the Association of American Publishers.

The agreement ends a copyright infringement lawsuit filed in October 2005 by five AAP member publishers.

Because the settlement is between the parties to the litigation, no court approval is needed.

But the deal not not affect another long-running lawsuit involving the Authors Guild for the massive Google Books project.

The settlement with the publishers “acknowledges the rights and interests of copyright-holders,” the statement said.

“US 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.”

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

Google’s chief legal officer David Drummond said, “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 percent 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.

Other details of the agreement are confidential.

The publishers in the settlement include McGraw-Hill, Pearson’s education division and Penguin Group USA, John Wiley & Sons, and CBS unit Simon & Schuster.