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United States: Google Settles Class Action Lawsuit Over Book Search Project

(Nov. 18, 2008) On October 28, 2008,Google Inc. announced it has reached a proposed settlement of a class action lawsuit filed against it by a group of authors and publishers alleging that the Google Book Search Project violated their copyrights.

In 2005, the Authors Guild, the Association of American Publishers, and others sued Google for copyright infringement, asserting that Google's Book Search Project violated their copyrights by scanning copyrighted books, creating an electronic database of the scanned books, and displaying short excerpts without the permission of the copyright holders. The proposed settlement would resolve these claims. If approved by the court in which the litigation is pending, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, the settlement will permit Google to develop an electronic books database that includes copyrighted books, sell subscriptions to the database, distribute the database freely to public and academic libraries, sell individual electronic books to the public, and share revenues with copyright holders. Under the proposed settlement, Google will establish a registry through which it will distribute 63% of all revenues from the database to copyright holders. Holders of copyrights will retain authority under the settlement to direct Google not to make their books available. (Proposed Settlement Agreement in Authors Guild v. Google Inc., No. 05 CV 8136 (S.D.N.Y.), available at http://books.google.com/booksrightsholders/agreement.html).