Yea! Good news for Google, authors, publishers and book lovers everywhere. The settlement against Google over copyright infringement on written literary works, ends the legal action that was taken against Google over two years ago, and settles a lawsuit that had been followed closely by the publishing industry in how copyrighted written materials should be handled online, and how online books affected an author’s financial compensation for their books. If approved, by the middle of next year, this agreement between Google, authors and publishers will expand online access of books, and give increased exposure to the millions of books that many people had to scour libraries and bookstores to find. It will also allow authors to keep rights over written material they release to the public, as well as receive monetary payment for their books presented online by Google.
Now that the lawsuit has been settled, Google (and authors and publishers of literary works) can get down to digitizing more books online for readers (both old, and new).
Even out-of-print (OOP) authors can receive a new generation of readers of their books. Readers will still have to pay to obtain some author’s books (either via Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble.com, Books-A-Million, to name a few), but, many books can be viewed either in full view (the entire book) or snippets, to whet the appetite to buy the book.
Many full view books are available on Google’s site:
OOP books (author is deceased; the copyright has lapsed):
-“Uncle Tom’s Cabin“, Harriet Beecher Stowe
-“The Souls of Black Folk“, W.E.B. DuBois
Even non-OOP books (author still living, copyright still extant) are available:
-“Black Soldier, White Army: The 24TH Army Infantry Regiment in Korea”, by William T. Bowers
Encyclopedias are also available:
-The Encyclopedia Americana: A Library of Universal Knowledge – Complete in 30 Volumes
to name just one.
Archival magazine articles are also available, as well:
The site has info on each book that includes the following:
-about this book;
-add to my library;
The books can either be downloaded in PDF, or viewed/read in plain text. The Google site even shows a map of places mentioned in a particular book, as well as mentions books referenced by other books. The Google site also explains the three types of books that appear on its site (in-copyright and in-print books; in-copyright and out-of-print books; and out-of-print books) and how it handles each type of book, due to the lawsuit.
All-in-all, a win-win for everyone.
GOOGLE SETTLES PUBLISHERS’ LAWSUIT OVER BOOK OFFERINGS
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Search engine giant Google yesterday announced that it had settled a pair of lawsuits that accused the company of copyright infringement, signaling a new chapter in how books could be read and purchased online.
Part of that amount, $34.5 million, will be spent by Google to establish a “Book Rights Registry” to make sure that authors are compensated for the use of their works. The registry would work like ASCAP and BMI, which oversee payments to songwriters and musicians for the use of their creations. The deal also establishes payments to the authors of works that have already been scanned into Google Book Search
Tech industry analyst Michael Gartenberg
said Google may have learned a lesson from the lawsuit.
Google is “going to need to do this in cooperation with the people who own the copyrights, and cooperation is pretty much going to mean paying for those rights,” said Gartenberg. “Even if you’re Google, you can’t just do what you want whenever you want to do it.”
The search engine had argued that its Google Book Search did not infringe on copyright laws under “fair use” guidelines that allow for the quotation of works. Google said that doctrine applied to its in-the-works project because Web users were not able to read a work from start to finish in the service’s original implementation.
Under the terms of the new agreement, through Google, consumers would be able to buy books that are out of print but retain their copyrights. The company would pay the registry 63 percent of any revenue derived from an author’s works, such as advertising placed next to online book pages.
Google dubbed the settlement “historic.”
“The tremendous wealth of knowledge that lies within the books of the world will now be at their fingertips,” the search engine’s co-founder, Sergey Brin
, said in a statement.
The settlement is subject to approval by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The proposal is, however, expected to receive the court’s blessing by the middle of next year.
Publishers said yesterday that the settlement would be a boon to authors and readers, though it is too early to know much about the size of the potential business.
“No one can really know how big this market is going to be,” said Richard Sarnoff, chairman of the Association of American Publishers.
Some authors are hoping that Google’s project will help them reach new audiences.
“If you’re an author with out-of-print books, this is going to give your book new life,” said Paul Aiken, executive director of the Authors Guild. “This will allow authors to find new readers in any number of ways.”
Under the agreement, colleges and universities would pay for full access to the titles in Google’s database, and public libraries would get that access for free; consumers searching from home would get limited excerpts, with the option to buy a complete work.
For more information on Google books, here are official Google websites: