Google has announced that it has settled the “book search” class action lawsuits filed against it in 2005 by the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers. The complaint in The Authors Guild, Inc., et al. v. Google Inc., filed in the Southern District for the District of New York, accused Google of massive copyright infringement by reproducing works that were not in the public domain in violation of the Copyright Act, 17 USC § 101 et seq. Google Book Search, which scans books and then distributes them online, was accused of violating the copyrights of publishers and authors. The settlement, which is subject to final court approval, calls for Google to pay $125 million to litigants. It also clears the way for Google to continue scanning books and establishes some novel services and distribution mechanisms for the future.
The proposed settlement agreement, if approved by the US District Court, is seen as a victory for researchers and will provide enhanced access to copyrighted works through Google Book Search and a mechanism for the compensation of copyright holders. For more information, see the Authors Guild v. Google Settlement Resources Page. See Google’s web page to see how the settlement will affect Google Book Search.