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Google, publishers settle dispute over book scanning initiative

Google [corporate website] and the Association of American Publishers (AAP) [association website] on Thursday announced a settlement [press release] over Google's book-scanning initiative [website]. Authors and publishers have alleged that Google was illegally profiting off of their works by scanning more than 20 million books [AP report]. One particularly contentious issue was that Google would include books in its book-scanning initiative unless an author or publisher affirmatively objected to its inclusion in the project. Therefore, an author's works could be published without the author's knowledge since Google did not obtain permission from either authors or publishers. This settlement does not require court approval since the only parties involved in the settlement are parties to the litigation. There is still an outstanding lawsuit between various authors and Google, leaving the future of Google's book-scanning initiative uncertain.

Last month the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit suspended litigation [JURIST report] between the Authors Guild [advocacy website] and Google pending an appeal of a May ruling allowing a class action lawsuit [JURIST report] over Google's book-scanning initiative. Both sides have tried to resolve the dispute without litigation, but their settlement agreement was rejected [JURIST report] by Circuit Judge Denny Chin in March 2011. The agreement was reached in 2008 between Google and plaintiffs including the Guild, who brought the copyright suit [JURIST reports] in 2005.

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