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Google, publishers settle longtime dispute over digitized books

By Dawn C. Chmielewski, Los Angeles Times –

LOS ANGELES — Google and a group of U.S. publishers have reached an out-of-court settlement ending a seven-year dispute involving books digitized for the Google Library Project.

The agreement concludes a copyright infringement lawsuit that the publishers filed against Google in October 2005. The settlement reaffirms the rights of copyright holders and gives publishers the right to choose whether to make available or withhold books to be digitized by the Silicon Valley tech giant for its Library Project.

Both parties hailed the conclusion of the suit, although terms were not disclosed.

“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 users,” said David Drummond, Google’s chief legal officer.

The publishers bringing suit were McGraw-Hill, Pearson Education and Penguin, John Wiley & Sons and Simon & Schuster.

As a result of the agreement, books scanned as part of Google’s digital library project can be included in Google Books, a specialized search that identifies books whose content matches a user’s query. Readers can browse up to 20 percent of the books before deciding whether to purchase digital versions through Google Play.

The agreement does not affect Google’s current litigation with the Authors Guild.

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