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Google settles suit over book scanning

Friday, October 05, 2012    

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MOUNTAIN VIEW, California — Google and US publishers have settled a long-standing dispute over Google's book-scanning project. A lawsuit filed by authors remains, though, leaving the project in question.

The Association of American Publishers and Google Inc announced their settlement on Thursday to end a lawsuit filed by five publishers in October 2005.

Google already has scanned more than 20 million books. Publishers and authors sued, saying the project violated their copyrights. Authors' and publishers' groups had settled with Google before, but a federal judge tossed the deal following objections. One point of contention was the fact that books were included unless Google was informed that an author or publisher objected.

Google and the publishers say the new settlement won't require court approval because it involves only parties to the litigation. Publishers will get to choose which books are included.

"We are pleased that this settlement addresses the issues that led to the litigation," said Tom Allen, president and CEO of the publishers group. "It shows that digital services can provide innovative means to discover content while still respecting the rights of copyright-holders."

Michael Boni, a lawyer for The Authors Guild, said he was "cautiously optimistic" about the prospects to make progress in the rest of the case now that the publishers have settled.

"We're delighted that Google and the publishers forged an agreement," Boni said. "We see that as a sign of Google's willingness (to be open) to the concept of settlement. And we hope we can get to the bargaining table as soon as we can.

Boni said authors and publishers have been working separately with Google after the court rejected the first settlement.

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