The Authors Guild, New York, the Association of American Publishers (AAP) Washington, D.C., and New York, and Google announced a groundbreaking settlement agreement "on behalf of a broad class of authors and publishers worldwide that would expand online access to millions of in-copyright books and other written materials in the U.S. from the collections of a number of major U.S. libraries participating in Google Book Search. The agreement, reached after two years of negotiations, would resolve a class-action lawsuit brought by book authors and the Authors Guild, as well as a separate lawsuit filed by five large publishers as representatives of the AAP’s membership. The class action is subject to approval by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
"If approved by the court, the agreement would provide:
- More Access to Out-of-Print Books – Generating greater exposure for millions of in-copyright works, including hard-to-find out-of-print books, by enabling readers in the U.S. to search these works and preview them online;
- Additional Ways to Purchase Copyrighted Books – Building off publishers’ and authors’ current efforts and further expanding the electronic market for copyrighted books in the U.S., by offering users the ability to purchase online access to many in-copyright books;
- Institutional Subscriptions to Millions of Books Online – Offering a means for U.S. colleges, universities and other organizations to obtain subscriptions for online access to collections from some of the world’s most renowned libraries;
- Free Access From U.S. Libraries – Providing free, full-text, online viewing of millions of out-of-print books at designated computers in U.S. public and university libraries; and
- Compensation to Authors and Publishers and Control Over Access to Their Works – Distributing payments earned from online access provided by Google and, prospectively, from similar programs that may be established by other providers, through a newly created independent, not-for-profit Book Rights Registry that will also locate rightsholders, collect and maintain accurate rightsholder information, and provide a way for rightsholders to request inclusion in or exclusion from the project."