Google, Book Publishers Settle in 7-Year Digital Book Case

Publishers can now opt to include in the Google Library Project out-of-print books still protected under copyright, but the settlement doesn't affect Google's lawsuit with authors

After seven years of litigation, Google and a coalition of book publishers announced Thursday a settlement allowing the Silicon Valley goliath to digitize copyrighted books.

Getty ImagesThe agreement puts Google one step closer to cataloging the world's books in a searchable database called the Google Library Project, though it did not settle outstanding copyright suits between the search giant and authors.

Thursday's settlement, struck between Google and the trade group Association of American Publishers, allows publishers — including John Wiley & Sons, McGraw-Hill Companies, Pearson Education and the Penguin Group — to give Google the approval to digitize out-of-print titles that are still protected under copyright.

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The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"We are pleased that this settlement addresses the issues that led to the litigation," Tom Allen, the president and CEO of AAP, said in a joint statement with Google, issued as a press release. "It shows that digital services can provide innovative means to discover content while still respecting the rights of copyright-holders."

Currently, Google Books allows users to browse up to 20 percent of available titles and purchase digital versions through its media store, Google Play.

"Google is a company that puts innovation front and center with all that it does," David Drummond, Google's senior vice president of corporate development and chief legal officer, said in the statement. "By putting this litigation with the publishers behind us, we can stay focused on our core mission and work to increase the number of books available to educate, excite and entertain our users via Google Play."