Google settles book-scanning court case

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Google settles book-scanning court case

Bigger lawsuit looms.

Google has settled a long-running copyright battle with US book pubishers over the digitisation of library books out of court, San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

The search giant was sued in 2005 by several members of the Association of American Publishers, which insisted that Google needed explicit permission from publishers and authors before it could scan the works.

However, Google maintained that the scanning was covered by fair use provisions under US copyright law. It offered to remove books from the Google search index on request and would only show excerpts of copyrighted books unless permission was given to display more.

A 2008 settlement with publishers and authors worth $US125 million was rejected by the US Department of Justice last year as it was deemed to give Google a broad authority to copy books, unless it was notified not to do so.

Google is aiming to create the world's largest digital library for its index and the Play Store with the Google Books project.

Books, initially conceived as a pet project by Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page in 1996 and first started in 2002, involves the scanning of more than 130 million works in libraries around the world, including Oxford University's entire Bodleian Library.

Some 20 million books have been copied by Google, many of which are out of copyright.

However, another lawsuit brought by the US Authors' Guild could put a hamper Google's scanning plans. Authors are asking for $US750 ($A732) in damages for every copyrighted book Google has scanned over the last eight years.

The total cost for Google of that action, if succesful, could reach billons of dollars.

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