Earlier this week, Google announced a settlement with the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers (AAP) to expand online access to millions of in-copyright books and other written materials in the U.S. from the collections of major U.S. libraries participating in Google Book Search. More details of the settlement can be found in an article posted on Tuesday in Publishers Weekly. Another article also appears in this week’s Campus Marketplace.
The Official Google Blog notes that the agreement is truly groundbreaking for three reasons. “First it will give readers digital access to millions of in-copyright books; second, it will create a new market for authors and publishers to sell their works; and third, it will further the efforts of our library partners to preserve and maintain their collections while making books more accessible to students, readers and academic researchers.”
The settlement must be approved by the court but includes a $125 million payment by Google as well as the establishment of a new licensing system allowing copyright owners to register their works and receive a share of subscriptions, book sales, and ad revenues.
However, if the settlement goes through as stated, some parties may not participate. On Thursday, Harvard University Library announced that they find the terms of the settlement unsatisfactory and will not allow their in-copyright works to be scanned. Harvard’s concern includes questions regarding access to the scanned books, prices charged for access, and the quality of the scanned books. University spokesman John D. Longbrake noted that Harvard participation will be dependent on the result of the settlement and they may decide to join “if the settlement between Google and publishers contains more reasonable terms for the University.”