[More from Mashable: Google’s Street View Now Available on Mobile Browsers]
Google and the Association of American Publishers (AAP) announced Thursday that they have settled a seven-year disagreement over Google's library book-scanning project.
The lawsuit was brought against Google by five AAP member publishers -- McGraw-Hill, Pearson, Penguin, John Wiley and Simon & Schuster -- in October 2005. It contested Google’s efforts to scan books and make them available freely on the Internet through Google Books. They argued the project was in violation of copyright law.
[More from Mashable: 5 Inspiring Ways Developers Are Building With Google Maps]
Publishers got exactly what they wanted: The right to add or remove the books and journals indexed in Google's Library Project. The search giant is providing those who contribute works to the program with free digital copies for their own use, but that is more or less the only incentive they'll have to contribute. The ambitions of Google's book-scanning project have thus been greatly curtailed in the U.S. at least.
The outcome of a similar, six-year dispute between Google and the French Publishers’ Association and the Societe des Gens de Lettres (SGDL), which was settled in June, had a much better outcome for Google -- and, arguably, for publishers. The three parties agreed on a revenue-sharing scheme that enables individual French publishers and authors to sell digital editions of books Google has scanned. Google would, of course, have preferred to make those works available for free; but at least they were able to make them available online at all.
"We are pleased that this settlement addresses the issues that led to the litigation," Tom Allen, president and CEO of AAP, observed in a statement. "It shows that digital services can provide innovative means to discover content while still respecting the rights of copyright-holders."
David Drummond, chief legal officer for Google, acknowledged Google's defeat, but said Google is pleased to have the litigation "behind us... [so] we can stay focused on our core mission and work to increase the number of books available to educate, excite and entertain our users via Google Play."
Further terms of the settlement were not disclosed.
Google and the AAP first reached a settlement in October 2008, but the settlement was denied court approval in March 2011. This time, the settlement was struck between parties to the litigation, so court approval is not required.
Meanwhile, Google continues to battle dozens of other lawsuits related to its book-scanning project, both in the U.S. and abroad. In the U.S., a similar lawsuit between Google and the Authors Guild drags on in its seventh year.
This story originally published on Mashable here.