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Featured: Google Finally Settles 7 Year Copyright Dispute with Publishers

October 5, 2012 - Written By Tom Dawson

When Google Books first launched on Android there was a good amount of content from some big names in the industry. This was down to an ongoing dispute between Google and a group of copyright holders that was filed in 2005. The suit was brought to Google because of its Library project, to digitize content for all. This led to Google being prevented from having content form the following companies in Google Books:

  • McGraw-Hill
  • Pearson Education
  • Penguin Group
  • John Wiley & Sons
  • Simon & Schuster

It’s taken a long time – 7 years to be precise – but now Google has settled with the publishes and whilst the details of said settlement haven’t been revealed, it looks like the industry is pretty happy with the result. Tom Allen – President and CEO of the Association of American Publishers – said that it “shows that digital services can provide innovative means to discover content whilse still respecting the rights of copyright-holders”. This is certainly good news for the Play Store as now they might be able to provide more content. Google’s David Drummond, VP for Corporate Development and Chief Legal Officer had this to say:

“By putting this litigation with the publishers behind us, 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,”

You can’t please everyone however and the Authors Guild isn’t quite satisfied with this and they still feel like Google is profiting unfairly. They had this to say on the matter:

The publishers’ private settlement, whatever its terms, does not resolve the authors’ copyright infringement claims against Google. Google continues to profit from its use of millions of copyright-protected books without regard to authors’ rights, and our class-action lawsuit on behalf of U.S. authors continues.”

Personally, I think it’s about time for the content owners to wise up and realise that people like Google provide just yet another alternative to distribute content and that relying solely on Amazon for the digital side of things is going to get them nowhere in the long run. However, Google had ought to sew up all litigation surrounding content – this is a good start – especially when you consider their big  push with Google Play and that they need the content more than anything.