Google announced this week that it has finally settled its long-running legal battle with publishers and authors over its book-scanning project. Here's blogger Mathew Ingram's take on it. -EditorThe project has been under a cloud since 2005, when the Association of American Publishers and the Authors Guild filed two class-action lawsuits alleging that scanning books without permission amounted to large-scale copyright infringement. The Web company said it would remove books from its index on request, but authors and publishers said this reverse-onus approach was unfair.
As part of the settlement, Google is paying $125-million to settle the legal claims, pay legal costs for the two groups, and . more importantly . will set up a new entity called the Book Rights Registry, which will be responsible for distributing payments that come from online access to books provided through Google (and through any similar programs created by other providers). The registry will also be responsible for locating rights holders for old and out-of-print books, collecting and maintaining accurate info, and for providing a way for rights holders to .request inclusion in or exclusion from the project.. In effect, Google is setting up a body that does what ASCAP and similar groups do for musicians.
This settlement is a huge step forward for online and electronic access to books. As Google has repeatedly argued, this will make it substantially easier for authors and publishers to find, distribute and monetize out-of-print books...
Just what this means for numismatic authors is yet to be seen, but it does seem to be a step in the right direction. -Editor
Wayne Homren, Editor
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