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Google agrees to settle two copyright infringement lawsuits for book search

[JURIST] Internet search company Google, Inc. [corporate website] agreed Tuesday to settle [Google press release] two copyright infringement lawsuits stemming from its book-scanning initiative [Google Book Search website]. The two lawsuits were brought against Google by The Authors Guild [advocacy website; press release, PDF], an advocacy group seeking to preserve copyright protection for authors, and by other plaintiffs including the Association of American Publishers (AAP) [organization website; AAP press release], The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., Penguin Group (USA), Inc., and Simon & Schuster, Inc. [corporate websites]. Under the terms of the settlement agreement [text, PDF], which is subject to approval by the US District Court for the Southern District of New York [court website], Google will pay $125 million to authors and publishers of copyrighted works. In return, Google will be allowed to display online up to 20% of the total pages of a copyrighted book, and will offer users an opportunity to purchase the remainder of any viewed book. The New York Times has more. The Washington Post has additional coverage.

The two lawsuits settled Tuesday were originally brought against Google in 2005. In September 2005, The Authors Guild alleged [JURIST report] "massive copyright infringement at the expense of the rights of individual writers." The lawsuit accused Google of engaging in unauthorized scanning and copying of books through its Google Print Library Project [Google backgrounder; advocacy copyright analysis, PDF]. The AAP lawsuit, filed in October 2005 [JURIST report], alleged that Google infringed copyrights held by a number of publishing companies when it scanned the entire book collections of several universities to make them searchable online.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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