It has taken seven long years of litigation, but all’s well that ends well, don’t you think so? Both Google and book publishers have arrived at a settlement at last, enabling Google to digitize books and journals which is in line with the Internet search giant’s plan to digitize every book on the planet, making them readable and searchable online under the Google Library Project banner. The agreement between Google and the Association of American Publishers (McGraw-Hill Companies, Pearson Education, Penguin Group, John Wiley & Sons and Simon & Schuster) have been sought after by many for a long time, and it enables publishers to decide on whether they will give Google permission to digitize their out-of-print books which remain under copyright protection. Should Google be given the green light, Google’s part would also be to provide them with a digital copy for their own use.
Digitized copies of books will not be a free-for-all scenario, as Google only allows people to read 20% of them online, so if you want to know what happens in the other 80%, you will need to fork out money for the whole book from the Google Play store. We do not know the financial terms of the agreement, but certainly it was an amicable solution that had everyone happy, otherwise there would not be an agreement in the first place, right?
Do take into consideration that the bigger case between Google and the Authors Guild is still tied up in court. Hopefully in that situation, an agreement can be reached to determine whether Google is able to go ahead and embrace their Google Library Project on a larger scale. It is a step forward for sure, albeit a small one.