On Thursday, Google and the Association of American Publishers (AAP) said the parties had reached a settlement over the rights of digital books, and said that U.S. publishers can decide whether they want Google to make their books available or not.
The seven-year long litigation is continuing over Google Books scanning and making available online about 20 million books in partnership with major libraries. Publishers and authors alleged Google infringed their rights by not seeking their permission before making copyrighted material available through the Google platform. Internet visitors can browse up to 1/5th of each book available on Google books and then proceed to purchase digital versions from Google Play. Publishers receive a percentage of the sale.
In 2005, Google was sued in the matter by the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers for the violation of copyright laws. A settlement made in 2008 for $125 million was rejected by the Justice Department, and the rejection of the settlement by the DOJ was supported later by a federal court.
In the initial lawsuit, publishers like McGraw-Hill Companies Inc, Pearson Education Inc and its sister Penguin Group USA, John Wiley & Sons and CBS Corp’s Simon & Schuster, sued collectively through AAP. That part of the dispute with AAP is now settled, but the fight with the Authors Guild continues.
In a statement regarding the lawsuit, Paul Aiken, the executive director of the Authors Guild said, “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.”
Digital books have created a major shift in the book publishing industry, and of recent, there have been several lawsuits regarding digital books and copyrights. Recently the Justice Department sued Apple and two publishers for alleged price fixing in ebooks. While three publishers settled the others have chosen to fight the allegations.