So a deal in the US litigation (subject to Court approval) arising out of the Google Book Search Library Project has been done! The stakes were high - I've always said too high - for Google to risk losing the ligitation class-action lawsuit brought by book authors, the Authors Guild and certain publishers against Google in 2005 which challenged Google’s plan to digitize, search and show snippets of in-copyright books and to share digital copies with libraries without the explicit permission of the copyright owner.
Under the agreement, Google will make payments totaling $125 million. The money will be used to establish the Book Rights Registry, to resolve existing claims by authors and publishers and to cover legal fees.
There are full details about the deal on the AAP website.
Quoting from their Press Release: "If approved by the court, the agreement would provide:
- More Access to Out-of-Print Books -- Generating greater exposure for millions of in-copyright works, including hard-to-find out-of-print books, by enabling readers in the U.S. to search these works and preview them online;
- Additional Ways to Purchase Copyrighted Books -- Building off publishers’ and authors’ current efforts and further expanding the electronic market for copyrighted books in the U.S., by offering users the ability to purchase online access to many in-copyright books;
- Institutional Subscriptions to Millions of Books Online -- Offering a means for U.S. colleges, universities and other organizations to obtain subscriptions for online access to collections from some of the world’s most renowned libraries;
- Free Access From U.S. Libraries -- Providing free, full-text, online viewing of millions of out-of-print books at designated computers in U.S. public and university libraries; and
- Compensation to Authors and Publishers and Control Over Access to Their Works -- Distributing payments earned from online access provided by Google and, prospectively, from similar programs that may be established by other providers, through a newly created independent, not-for-profit Book Rights Registry that will also locate rightsholders, collect and maintain accurate rightsholder information, and provide a way for rightsholders to request inclusion in or exclusion from the project. "
The deal could be described as 'win, win' for all concerned. But, above all, it proves that copyright remains absolutely at the heart of the digital media age.
In my '10 Principles of Digital Media Law', number 10 is 'Collaboration's the name of the digital media game'. This deal is proof positive of this.
Have a good week!