AAP and Google settle… questions remain

From the ALA Washington Office District Dispatch blog:

The Association of American Publishers (AAP) announced today they have reached a settlement in their lawsuit filed in 2005 against Google, Inc. According to AAP’s press release,

US publishers can choose to make available or choose to remove their books and journals digitized by Google for its Library Project….Apart from the settlement, US publishers can continue to make individual agreements with Google for use of their other digitally-scanned works.

The five publishers – Simon and Schuster Inc., McGraw-Hill Cos., John Wiley and Sons Inc., Penguin Group (USA) Inc. and Pearson Education Inc. – who originally sued Google, have entered into a settlement that outlines the terms and conditions for how Google can use their works in Google Book. The terms seem (based on what scant information we have) similar to the original settlement and Google’s existing voluntary arrangement with publishers.

Since the settlement only applies to the five publishers, questions do remain. The orphaned works situation (when copyright holders cannot be identified or located) is not yet resolved within Google Books. Also, the class action lawsuit brought against Google by the Authors Guild in 2005 for copyright infringement for scanning and digitizing books and making snippets available continues. Currently, the lawsuit is before the U.S. District Court Southern District of New York. Recently, the American Library Association (ALA), as part of the Library Copyright Alliance (LCA), along with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed an amicus curiae or friend of the court brief (pdf). In the brief, the LCA and EFF defend the scanning of books for indexing and snippet view in Google Book as permissible under the doctrine of fair use.

Corey Williams
Associate Director, Office of Government Relations
American Library Association

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