Google & Publishers Settle Google Library Lawsuit By Agreeing To What Google Offered Seven Years Ago
from the give-'em-enough-rope dept
As we’ve been covering for years, there has been a series of legal issues going on around Google’s efforts to scan books and make them indexable/searchable. It appears that one of the earliest legal efforts against Google, from the Association of American Publishers (AAP), over the “Google Library” projects has now been settled:
The settlement acknowledges the rights and interests of copyright-holders. US publishers can choose to make available or choose to remove their books and journals digitized by Google for its Library Project. Those deciding not to remove their works will have the option to receive a digital copy for their use.
Apart from the settlement, US publishers can continue to make individual agreements with Google for use of their other digitally-scanned works.
This is not a repeat of the very different and problematic original Google Books settlement that was rejected — as that tried to create a much larger “deal” that went way beyond what the case covered. This time around, the settlement doesn’t require court approval, because it doesn’t go beyond the specific parties in the lawsuit. While this lawsuit went on for seven years, this settlement more or less seems to be a suggestion that (a) publishers have finally realized that having Google scan all their books and make them easier to find is actually good for them and (b) the few publishers who are still unable to grasp this are still allowed to shoot themselves in the foot and opt-out of the project. Of course, this isn’t any different than what Google was offering publishers all along. Basically, this settlement is AAP admitting that the entire lawsuit was a waste of time and money.
While it may have been interesting to have seen how the court would have ruled in this case, on the whole this settlement makes sense for both parties — just as Google’s original offer to publishers did. It lets the project move forward seriously, and the few clueless publishers who don’t get it can (still) take themselves out of one of the best tools for finding their books, proving why they’re bad at modern publishing. When your opponent in a lawsuit agrees to settle it in a way that lets you do basically everything you’ve wanted to do from the beginning, and the only condition is that clueless plaintiffs can hurt themselves… you pretty much have to agree to it. The only amazing thing is that it took the AAP seven years of litigation to effectively admit that they’re fine with what Google offered them from the start.