Courtesy of Publishers Weekly…

It’s over — at least for publishers. The Association of American Publishers and Google today announced they have settled their long-running litigation over Google’s library book scanning. According to a statement from the AAP, Google is said to “acknowledge the rights and interests of copyright-holders,” and U.S. publishers can “choose to make available or choose to remove their books and journals digitized by Google for its Library Project.”

In addition, under the details released, publishers deciding to have their scanned works included in the Google database can opt to receive a digital copy for their use. Google director of strategic partnerships Tom Turvey told PW that publishers will own the scans provided to them by Google, and will have “broad” rights to commercialize them or make them available in other search engines.

It is unclear if there was any payment involved, whether for legal fees or otherwise, as further terms of the agreement are confidential. Since the deal is a private settlement, the parties confirmed, there will be no public settlement document, and it does not need to be approved by the court. Nevertheless, the deal, in which the publisher suit is now dismissed, appears hardly worth such a lengthy court fight. “The publicly described terms sound indistinguishable from the terms Google has offered to its print partners for years.” New York Law School Professor James Grimmelmann observed. “If that’s all, it’s hard to understand why this deal took so long.”

Indeed, the deal comes after nearly seven years of litigation, including three years of stumping for a controversial settlement, which was rejected by Judge Denny Chin in March, 2011. In its suit, the publishers had sought a declaration that Google’s scanning was copyright infringement, and an injunction barring the activity. Google countered that its scanning was fair use. The suit was later joined with a similar suit that had been filed by the Authors Guild. The Authors Guild litigation, meanwhile, is ongoing, although it has been stayed while the Second Circuit considers an appeal of Judge Chin’s decision to certify the case as a class action. Authors Guild executive director Paul Akin was clear that the guild suit is not affected by the deal with the publishers. “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,” Aiken said.

To read the complete article: Google, Publishers Settle Lawsuit over Book Scanning

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