Eager to cool the debate over copyrighted text online and anxious to make some money, Google and the publishing industry announced Tuesday that they have settled their three-year legal battle over the Internet giant's book search program.
Under an agreement reached by Google, the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers, librarians and the public will have an easier time tracking down millions of out-of-print books. Google and the book business will have greater opportunities for online sales.
“We're trying to create a new structure where there will be more access to out-of-print books, with benefits both to readers and researchers and to … authors and publishers,” said Richard Sarnoff, publishers association chairman.
Under the Google Print Library Project, snippets from millions of out-of-print but copyrighted books have been indexed online by libraries. Google has called the project, which also scans public domain works, an invaluable chance for books to receive increased exposure.
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But in a class-action suit filed in 2005, the Authors Guild alleged that Google was “engaging in massive copyright infringement.” A year later, publishers also sued.
The settlement expands the amount of text to be scanned, makes it available free online at “designated” libraries and available for subscription for colleges and universities. It also allows readers to pay for full online access of copyrighted works.
The court is expected to rule on the agreement by next summer.