Google’s creation of a digital library sparked a seven-year battle between Google and the publishing industry. Trade groups for the authors and publishers filed a pair of lawsuits against Google in 2005 and the issue has been mired in legal battles ever since. Google announced the project in late 2004 and began scanning selected books into the digital library with the cooperation of several major physical libraries. However, Google never received a green light from the authors and publishers whose books were being scanned.
The Association of American Publishers (AAP) and the Authors Guild reached a settlement deal with Google in 2009, but the deal was later tossed out by a judge. AAP announced a new settlement deal with Google that deals with the millions of books that Google has already scanned and sets rules for digitizing in the future. The financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.
Publishers can choose to contact Google for removal for books that Google has already scanned. Publishers will have to opt in and strike individual deals with Google to digitize their book catalogs going forward. AAP president and CEO Tom Allen said in a written statement that the settlement “shows that digital services can provide innovative means to discover content while still respecting the rights of copyright-holders.” Google hopes that the digital library will eventually house every book ever published.
Google remains in litigation with the Authors Guild, which is leading a class-action lawsuit. In response to the AAP deal, Paul Aiken, executive director of the Authors Guild, said, “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.”