What Does the Google Book Search Settlement Mean for the Industry?
Representatives of the book industry's leading trade groups say the pending agreement brokered last week with Google over the Internet search giant's controversial Book Search tool will benefit the U.S. publishing industry for years to come.
After nearly three years of negotiations, the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and the Authors Guild came together with Google last Tuesday to announce that an out-of-court settlement had been reached: The lawsuits would be dropped. A resolution to the ongoing battle over the fair use exceptions to the copyright used in the online book-scanning project had been made.
The deal—if approved by a federal court—could go down as one of the biggest ever for the industry, as it is expected to create a new channel of payments for digital works online.
The settlement will allow Google to make millions of books available to read or buy through its Google Book Search, while providing compensation to both publishers and authors for their works. Rights holders will have the power to withdraw books from the Google database if they so choose.
AAP President and CEO Pat Schroeder told Book Business Extra that the decision to establish a Book Rights Registry will create a key business model and, in turn, a new cash flow for publishers. The registry—to be made up of a board of directors comprised of publishing and author representatives—will monitor compensation for both parties. Google will pay $125 million as part of the deal—with money going to set up the registry, as well as pay the publishing litigants' legal fees.
If the copyright cases had been settled in court, a partnership with Google to explore the online search option may never have happened, Schroeder says. "If we had fought it, we would have a decision that we were right or wrong," she continues. "I think this is great news."