After a lengthy and complex litigation process, today both Google and the following book publisher plaintiffs (The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.; Pearson Education, Inc. and Penguin Group (USA) Inc., both part of Pearson; John Wiley & Sons, Inc.; and Simon & Schuster, Inc. part of CBS Corporation) announce that a legal settlement agreement has been reached with Google. Both parties claim publicly to be pleased with the outcome.
This agreement establishes a framework to provide access to book publishers’ in-copyright books and journals that were digitized by Google for its Library Project and to govern how such works may be scanned in the future.
The agreement settles the copyright infringement lawsuit filed by five publisher plaintiffs. As is typical of a private settlement between parties, a number of terms are confidential. You can read Google’s press release regarding the settlement however we provide more details below for publishers analysis. The key elements of the agreement:
The agreement settles the copyright infringement lawsuit filed by five publisher plaintiffs. As is typical of a private settlement between parties, a number of terms are confidential.
The key elements of the book publishing agreement:
- First and foremost, the settlement acknowledges the rights and interests of copyright-holders. A publisher can choose to make available or remove its works from Google’s programs.
- The agreement covers US book publishers – those who are members of Association of American Publishers and certain other publishing associations with US publisher members – for in-copyright books and journals in which they hold a copyright interest under US law.
- The agreement provides for such book publishers to make available or remove scans of their works previously created in the Google Library Project.
- The agreement provides a set of satisfactory terms as to how future scanning by Google of covered books and journals may be addressed by their publishers.
- The agreement authorizes Google, through separate agreements with individual publishers, to make commercial use of those scans – particularly in educational math books.
- The agreement also authorizes Google to enter into file return agreements with publishers. This gives publishers digital files of their scans for certain authorized uses while also granting Google additional rights.
- This deal marks the end of seven years of litigation between the publishers and Google relating to the Google Books Library Project. It secures dismissal of the lawsuit, without prejudice or release of claims, by stipulation of the parties.
- This settlement does not affect Google’s litigation with the Authors Guild nor does it address the underlying questions in that suit.
- This differs from the class action settlement rejected by the court in 2011. It is narrower in scope and effect because it resolves more limited claims by individual plaintiffs rather than a class.
- There are a number of reasons why the parties chose to make the deal.
For the publishers, they wanted to find a way to move forward and bring this lengthy, complex litigation to an end while building on the existing relationship between publishers and Google.
Publishers’ attempts to settle this through the court were not successful and a private settlement, which does not require the court’s approval, was the most effective means. Although the settlement does not resolve the disagreements regarding the scope of fair use and other points of copyright law, it resolves to the plaintiffs’ satisfaction the practical issues underlying the dispute which led to the lawsuit.
Google sought to make the deal to bring to an end seven years’ litigation and move ahead with increasing the body of works available in Google Books and Google Play. This deal proved to be mutually beneficial because it expands eBook discovery and sales while respecting the rights of copyright owners.Book publisher and Self Publishing Information provided by S&D book publishers and christian book publishers as a courtesy.