Settlement Reached Between Google and Authors Guild, AAP

by Staff

An out-of-court settlement was reached yesterday between Google, the Authors Guild, and the Association of American Publishers (AAP). In 2005 the Authors Guild and the AAP brought separate lawsuits against Google’s Library Search project, which provides online access to copyrighted material. The $125 million settlement provides compensation to authors and publishers for use of their works.

The settlement still needs the approval of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, which isn’t expected until next year, but there is enthusiasm for the agreement on both sides. Both AAP chairman Richard Sarnoff and Google president of technology Sergey Brin have called the outcome a “win” for all involved.

Under the settlement, revenue gained through Google’s digital book program, which provides readers with access to millions of books online, will be shared with authors and rightsholders. The $125 million settlement will be used to establish the independent nonprofit Book Rights Registry, to be overseen by a board of publishers and authors, which will distribute the compensation.

“The agreement creates an innovative framework for the use of copyrighted material in a rapidly digitizing world, serves readers by enabling broader access to a huge trove of hard-to-find books, and benefits the publishing community by establishing an attractive commercial model that offers both control and choice to the rightsholder,” Sarnoff said in a statement.

Paul Aikin, executive director of the Authors Guild, called the agreement “the biggest book deal in U.S. publishing history.”

The settlement resolves Authors Guild v. Google, a class-action suit filed by the Authors Guild and certain authors, and a suit filed by five members of the AAP: McGraw-Hill Companies, Pearson Education and Penguin Group, John Wiley and Sons, and Simon & Schuster.