Google Books Deal Bolsters Dream of Universal Bookstore
October 11, 2012 | 9:50 pm
Google’s settlement with publishers is an important step toward making millions of rare and out-of-print books available online.
Google’s deal to settle a seven-year conflict with five major publishers over the search giant’s book-scanning initiative is a milestone in the publishing industry’s grinding transition from print books to e-books. The pact, struck by Google and the Association of American Publishers (AAP), does not address the underlying question of whether Google violated copyright law by scanning millions of books over the last several years. Both sides, apparently weary of legal wrangling, have agreed to disagree on that point. The deal also doesn’t affect an ongoing lawsuit filed against Google by the Authors Guild, which represents thousands of authors.
Nevertheless, this landmark agreement is an important step toward the ultimate end-game in this conflict: a system in which Google works together with the publishing community to make millions of hard-to-find books accessible to consumers. That’s the bottom-line: Google’s book-scanning project — now known as the Google Library Project – holds out the promise of a giant Internet library and bookstore, but that outcome is only possible if Google and the publishing community work together.
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