Copyright Accord Would Make Millions More Books Available Online
NEW YORK, Oct. 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Authors Guild, the
Association of American Publishers (AAP), and Google today announced a
groundbreaking settlement agreement on behalf of a broad class of authors and
publishers worldwide that would expand online access to millions of
in-copyright books and other written materials in the U.S. from the
collections of a number of major U.S. libraries participating in Google Book
Search. The agreement, reached after two years of negotiations, would resolve
a class-action lawsuit brought by book authors and the Authors Guild, as well
as a separate lawsuit filed by five large publishers as representatives of the
AAP's membership. The class action is subject to approval by the U.S.
District Court for the Southern District of New York.
The agreement promises to benefit readers and researchers, and enhance
the ability of authors and publishers to distribute their content in digital
form, by significantly expanding online access to works through Google Book
Search, an ambitious effort to make millions of books searchable via the Web.
The agreement acknowledges the rights and interests of copyright owners,
provides an efficient means for them to control how their intellectual
property is accessed online and enables them to receive compensation for
online access to their works.
If approved by the court, the agreement would provide:
-- More Access to Out-of-Print Books -- Generating greater exposure for
millions of in-copyright works, including hard-to-find out-of-print
books, by enabling readers in the U.S. to search these works and
preview them online;
-- Additional Ways to Purchase Copyrighted Books -- Building off
publishers' and authors' current efforts and further expanding the
electronic market for copyrighted books in the U.S., by offering users
the ability to purchase online access to many in-copyright books;
-- Institutional Subscriptions to Millions of Books Online -- Offering a
means for U.S. colleges, universities and other organizations to
subscriptions for online access to collections from some of the
most renowned libraries;
-- Free Access From U.S. Libraries -- Providing free, full-text, online
viewing of millions of out-of-print books at designated computers in
U.S. public and university libraries; and
-- Compensation to Authors and Publishers and Control Over Access to
Works -- Distributing payments earned from online access provided by
Google and, prospectively, from similar programs that may be
established by other providers, through a newly created independent,
not-for-profit Book Rights Registry that will also locate
rightsholders, collect and maintain accurate rightsholder information,
and provide a way for rightsholders to request inclusion in or
exclusion from the project.
Under the agreement, Google will make payments totaling $125 million. The
money will be used to establish the Book Rights Registry, to resolve existing
claims by authors and publishers and to cover legal fees. The settlement
agreement resolves Authors Guild v. Google, a class-action suit filed on
September 20, 2005 by the Authors Guild and certain authors, and a suit filed
on October 19, 2005 by five major publisher-members of the Association of
American Publishers: The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. (NYSE: MHP); Pearson
Education, Inc. and Penguin Group (USA) Inc., both part of Pearson (LSE: PSON;
NYSE: PSO); John Wiley & Sons, Inc. (NYSE: JWa and JWb); and Simon &
Schuster, Inc. part of CBS Corporation (NYSE: CBS.A and CBS). These lawsuits
challenged Google's plan to digitize, search and show snippets of in-copyright
books and to share digital copies with libraries without the explicit
permission of the copyright owner.
Holders worldwide of U.S. copyrights can register their works with the
Book Rights Registry and receive compensation from institutional
subscriptions, book sales, ad revenues and other possible revenue models, as
well as a cash payment if their works have already been digitized.
Libraries at the Universities of California, Michigan, Wisconsin, and
Stanford have provided input into the settlement and expect to participate in
the project, including by making their collections available. Along with a
number of other U.S. libraries that currently work with Google, their
significant efforts to preserve, maintain and provide access to books have
played a critical role in achieving this agreement and, through their
anticipated participation, they are furthering such efforts while making books
even more accessible to students, researchers and readers in the U.S. It is
expected that additional libraries in the U.S. will participate in this
project in the future.
Google Book Search users in the United States will be able to enjoy and
purchase the products and services offered under the project. Outside the
United States, the users' experience with Google Book Search will be
unchanged, unless the offering of such products and services is authorized by
the rightsholder of a book.
"It's hard work writing a book, and even harder work getting paid for
it," said Roy Blount Jr., President of the Authors Guild. "As a reader and
researcher, I'll be delighted to stop by my local library to browse the stacks
of some of the world's great libraries. As an author, well, we appreciate
payment when people use our work. This deal makes good sense."
"This historic settlement is a win for everyone," said Richard Sarnoff,
Chairman of the Association of American Publishers. "From our perspective,
the agreement creates an innovative framework for the use of copyrighted
material in a rapidly digitizing world, serves readers by enabling broader
access to a huge trove of hard-to-find books, and benefits the publishing
community by establishing an attractive commercial model that offers both
control and choice to the rightsholder."
"Google's mission is to organize the world's information and make it
universally accessible and useful. Today, together with the authors,
publishers, and libraries, we have been able to make a great leap in this
endeavor," said Sergey Brin, co-founder & president of technology at Google.
"While this agreement is a real win-win for all of us, the real victors are
all the readers. The tremendous wealth of knowledge that lies within the
books of the world will now be at their fingertips."
For more information about this agreement, including information about
whether you may be a class member, please visit
http://books.google.com/booksrightsholders. Class members include authors
(the Author Sub-Class) and publishers (the Publisher Sub-Class), and their
heirs and successors, of books and other written works protected by U.S.
A teleconference for the media will be held today, Tuesday, October 28,
2008, at 10:30 a.m. Eastern. To participate, reporters in the U.S. should
dial 877-340-7913, and reporters internationally should dial 719-325-4845.
Please tell the operator you would like to join the "Authors, Publishers and
About the Authors Guild
The Authors Guild, representing more than 8,000 authors, is the nation's
largest and oldest society of published authors and the leading writers'
advocate for fair compensation, effective copyright protection, and free
expression. For more information, visit www.authorsguild.org.
About the Association of American Publishers
The AAP is the national trade association of the U.S. book publishing
industry. AAP's more than 300 members include most of the major commercial
publishers in the United States, as well as smaller and non-profit publishers,
university presses and scholarly societies. AAP members publish hardcover and
paperback books in every field, educational materials for the elementary,
secondary, postsecondary, and professional markets, scholarly journals,
computer software, and electronic products and services. The protection of
intellectual property rights in all media, the defense of the freedom to read
and the freedom to publish at home and abroad, and the promotion of reading
and literacy are among the Association's highest priorities. For further
information, see www.publishers.org.
About Google Inc. and Google Book Search
Google's innovative search technologies connect millions of people around
the world with information every day. Google Book Search was launched in 2004,
and today enables the full text searching of more than a million books online.
More than 20,000 publishers and 29 libraries around the world currently work
with Google to market their books through the service. Google is
headquartered in Silicon Valley with offices throughout the Americas, Europe
and Asia. For more information, visit www.google.com and
For further information:
For further information: Authors Guild: Matthew Traub,
email@example.com, +1-212-981-5207, or Joe DePlasco,
firstname.lastname@example.org, +1-212-981-5125; Association of American Publishers:
Judy Platt, email@example.com, +1-202-220-4551; Google: Megan Lamb,
firstname.lastname@example.org, +1-650-930-3555; The Author Sub-Class and the Authors Guild,
Inc. are represented by: Michael J. Boni and Joanne Zack of Boni & Zack LLC,
+1-610-822-0200, email@example.com; The Publisher Sub-Class, the
Association of American Publishers, Inc., The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.,
Pearson Education, Inc., Penguin Group (USA) Inc., John Wiley & Sons, Inc.,
and Simon & Schuster, Inc. are represented by Jeffrey P. Cunard and Bruce P.
Keller of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, +1-212-909-6000, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Web Site: http://books.google.com http://www.authorsguild.org