Will Google Get Its Way with Books?

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) has settled its copyright infringement case with the Association of American Publishers, though the Authors Guild will continue to battle it out with the search company. The lawsuit centers around Google’s Library Project, which attempts to make digital copies of books and allow consumers to search for keyword phrases within the text.

Thursday’s settlement allows Google to continue scanning books from various libraries, though settling publishers in the U.S. have the right to remove their own titles from the project if they want.

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“The digital market had changed significantly, and our publishers have ongoing retail relationships with Google,” said Tom Allen, chief executive of the Association of American Publishers, according to The Wall Street Journal. “Working out the differences made sense for us, Google, and the public.”

The litigation process started way back in 2005, with the publishers association and the Authors Guild each filing separate copyright-infringement lawsuits alleging Google had copied books without permission. The three parties reached settlement in 2008, but the U.S. Justice Department stood up in opposition, arguing that the deal gave Google too much leeway. The settlement agreement was eventually rejected by U.S. District Court Judge Denny Chin in March 2011, who agreed the deal would effectively reward Google “for engaging in wholesale copying of copyrighted works without permission.”

Google and the publishers said the latest settlement does not need court approval because it is “between the parties to the litigation.”

The Authors Guild, which is seeking $750 in copyright damages for each alleged violation, will continue its case. “The authors are the copyright holders of these books and they continue to have copyright-infringement claims against Google for its unauthorized scanning of millions of in-print and out-of-print books,” said Paul Aiken, executive director of the Authors Guild.

Google also sells e-books to consumers on its Google Play store, competing against similar storefronts from Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN), Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), and Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS), among others.

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