Google and a trade group representing U.S. book publishers today announced they have settled a copyright dispute that has dragged on for seven years.
The Association of American Publishers (AAP) and Google said in a joint statement that as a result of the settlement, the Google Library Project will receive access to publishers' copyrighted books.
Both parties also said that U.S. publishers can "choose to make available or choose to remove their books and journals digitized by Google for its Library Project."
In the statement, AAP and Google said: "Apart from the settlement, U.S. publishers can continue to make individual agreements with Google for use of their other digitally-scanned works."
This settlement doesn't affect the litigation between the Authors Guild and Google. The Authors Guild responded to AAP's settlement with Google in a statement.
"Google continues to profit from its use of millions of copyright-protected books without regard to authors' rights," the Guild said. "Our class-action lawsuit on behalf of U.S. authors continues."
In October 2005, AAP filed a lawsuit after Google announced plans to scan and digitize "the world's books." Google said then it would begin scanning all or segments of the book collections of major universities and libraries, including the University of Michigan, Harvard University, Stanford University, the New York Public Library, and Oxford University.
Google said it would give the public instantaneous access to a vast storehouse of knowledge, but it also said it would sell advertising against the searches. AAP said in its lawsuit that "Google is seeking to make millions of dollars by freeloading on the talent and property of authors and publishers."
The AAP's suit followed a similar complaint filed in 2005 by the Authors Guild. That case is on hold following an appellate court ruling last month that the trial can wait until the parties resolve whether plaintiffs can sue as a class.
Update 10 a.m. PT: To include response from Authors Guild.