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Thursday, October 30, 2008
Google Settles Copyright Dispute With Authors, Publishers

Google and book publishers and authors on Tuesday announced a landmark settlement to a copyright dispute that will make millions of books available for purchase online.

Under the terms of agreement, reached after two years of negotiations, the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers (AAP) agreed to drop their lawsuits against Google over its Google Book Search program.

The settlement calls for Google to pay 125 million dollars to establish an independent "Book Rights Registry," to resolve outstanding claims by authors and publishers and to cover legal fees from the lawsuits against Google.

Alleging "massive copyright infringement," authors and book publishers filed a barrage of lawsuits against Google three years ago after it launched Google Book Search, a plan with several major US universities to scan and copy millions of books from their libraries and make them searchable on the Web.

The agreement, which is subject to approval by a US District Court in New York and only applies to holders of US copyrights, provides future revenue to authors and publishers who agree to digitize their books with the Book Rights Registry.

In a joint statement, Google, the publishers and authors said the settlement "acknowledges the rights and interests of copyright owners, provides an efficient means for them to control how their intellectual property is accessed online and enables them to receive compensation for online access to their works."

Of the 125 million dollars, 30 million will go to creating the Book Rights Registry, 45 million to paying authors and publishers whose books have already been scanned without permission and the remainder to reimburse legal fees.

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