Google settles with Publishers over Copyright Infringement

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Internet Search giant, Google, has recently entered into a partial settlement with some publishers over the 7-yr long copyright infringement litigation initiated by the Association of American Publishers (AAP). Five members of the AAP filed this suit in 2005, when Google introduced its ‘Google Library Project’ aimed at digitizing books for online sale. As part of the project, Google’s search engines would scan through millions of books and make available up to 20 percent of the content of the books for users to search for the relevant book required by them. This project was immediately challenged by the Authors Guild who claimed that this was act of copyright infringement by Google thus starting the long drawn battle between the Internet Giant and the publishers. 

Google claimed that, only some parts of the books were made available for users as a matter of convenience to choose the relevant books based on search terms, while users would still have to buy the book to read it, and therefore did not amount to copyright infringement, the Authors Guild have maintained their plea of copyright infringement. An initiative to set up a deal by establishing an ‘Independent Book Registry’ by Google in 2008 along with a payment of $125 million to the publishers was rejected by the Judge. 

However, this agreement, resolves part of the lawsuit between the two sides, where Google has provided access to the Publishers to the extent that they could choose whether to make available their books through the project or get them removed. Google has also facilitated that those publishers opting to allow their books and journals to be digitized by Google would be provided with a digitized copy of the same. 

While the litigation is still impending, the idea of digitization of books and journals being dependent on the contracts between authors and publishers could help uncomplicated such issues for both Google as well as the Publishers. 

Source: Economic Times

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