Last week it was announced that the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and Google have settled the copyright infringement lawsuit filed by the AAP in 2005 over Google’s library book scanning project.
According to the AAP, “[t]he settlement acknowledges the rights and interests of copyright holders.” Under its terms, publishers can remove works for which they hold rights from Google Books, or make them available via separate agreements, the terms of which were not disclosed. Publishers who opt in can obtain Google-digitized copies of works for their own use.
The settlement, which is private, does not affect ongoing litigation between the Author’s Guild and Google, or between the Author’s Guild and HathiTrust. Nor does it affect the status of the digitized collections of the University of Michigan or Google’s other library partners.
According to Paul Courant, University Librarian and Dean of Libraries, while the settlement doesn’t alter the status quo for the library, it’s possible that it will result in more digitized works becoming available to libraries for lawful uses (such as access for readers with print disabilities), and for preservation. “Publishers who previously excluded works from the project now have an incentive to participate,” he says. “This reflects the complicated overlapping interests of libraries, publishers, and authors.”