Google, publishers agree to e-book settlement

Seven years of litigation comes to an end

Google Inc. has finally reached a settlement with the Association of American Publishers (AAP), which sued the search engine giant for copying millions of books for its digital library.

The suit dates back to 2005, when The Authors Guild and the AAP sued Google. The plaintiffs said that when Google—in partnership with libraries such as the New York Library and Stanford University Libraries—made around 20 million electronic copies of books for its digital library, it violated their copyrights.

The parties spent years in litigation, and in 2008 they reached a $125 million settlement agreement to pay authors and publishers whose copyrights had been violated. The Department of Justice (DOJ), however, invalidated that agreement, claiming it was illegal—and last year a federal court agreed with the DOJ.

Under this recent settlement with AAP, Google agreed that publishers may decide whether they want their books made available on Google’s digital library. The publishers will also get a percentage of consumer’s purchases from the library.

Google isn’t in the free-and-clear just yet. The Authors Guild said it will continue its fight against Google over the digital library. "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," Paul Aiken, executive director of the Authors Guild, said in a statement.

Separately, Google is still fighting accusations the DOJ has made against it regarding price-fixing of e-books.

Read more about this settlement on Thomson Reuters and the Wall Street Journal.

Read more InsideCounsel stories related to Google’s e-books litigation:

Authors sue Google over book digitization project

Google in talks with authors, publishers

Google gets two months to finalize Google Books

Google loses book case

Also, see other InsideCounsel stories about the ongoing legal battles over digital books:

Apple and e-book publishers offer proposed settlement with EU

Chinese writers win copyright battle against search engine Baidu

Romance novel authors sue over royalties

Barnes & Noble objects to e-book settlement

Apple takes on suits over e-books and Siri

Apple rejects DOJ charge of e-book price collusion


Cathleen Flahardy

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