Google and the Association of American Publishers just announced a settlement agreement for a 7-year-old litigation that will further provide access to copyrighted content digitized by Google for its Library Project.
Google started to scan and digitize library books in 2002 for its Book Search service founded in 2004 that allows users to download public domain books and snippets of copyrighted books. The Association of American Publishers filed a lawsuit against Google in 2005 for copyright infringement over the unauthorized snippets.
The Association sought an injunctive relief, but Google maintained the scanned book snippets were fair use. Both parties reportedly began negotiations to settle in 2006. However, in 2011, a supervising judge ruled to reject a major settlement proposal between them. Any news about close talks has since been quiet until today’s announcement about a finalized agreement.
The finalized agreement effectively ends the 2005 copyright infringement lawsuit; and the settlement is between the parties, so the court does not have to approve terms. The publisher plaintiffs include McGraw-Hill, Pearson Education, Penguin Group, John Wiley & Sons, and Simon & Schuster. Although the companies’ statement does not reveal whether Google infringed, they said the settlement “acknowledged the rights and interests of copyright-holders.”