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October 5, 2012

Google Books, Publishers Reach Agreement

Google and The American Association of Publishers have reached a consensus.

Nearly seven years after suing Google Books over the corporation’s plans to create the world’s largest digital books library, the two sides have come to an agreement.

While details of the agreement have not been made public, a news release stated publishers can choose to make their works available to Google for the project, or choose to have them removed.

“Google Books allows users to browse up to 20 percent of books and then purchase digital versions through Google Play,” a news release said. “Under the agreement, books scanned by Google in the Library Project can now be included by publishers.”

The publishers involved in the case are the McGraw-Hill Cos., John Wiley & Sons, Simon & Schuster, and Pearson Education Inc. and Penguin Group (U.S.A.), both part of Pearson.

Publishers may also make individual agreements with Google. The arrangement does not require judicial endorsement to be put into operation.

Other parties with disputes in the case, including the Authors Guild, were not included in the agreement.

An appeals court judge deferred trial court proceedings last month between Google Inc. and thousands of authors pending an appeal by the search engine company.

Google is appealing an order granting the authors class-action status.

A 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judge in New York said the Authors Guild agreed to the suspension.

The appeals court has given Google permission to challenge a May 31 ruling. The appeals court has yet to be scheduled for arguments.

In March 2001, the judge rejected a $125-million settlement, saying it gave Google too much authority to copy books without consent from authors.