announced that it has reached a deal with book publishers to settle two copyright lawsuits over potential copyright violations in its Google Book Search product. This $125 million settlement, which still needs approval from a U.S. district court, will be used to establish a Book Rights Registry that will ensure that publishers and authors receive compensation from subscription services and ad revenue. For users of Google Book Search, this settlement will mean that they might soon be able to build an "online bookshelf" and buy licenses to read the full-text of books in Google's index.Google today
Google will now be able to fade out the 'snippet view' in Google Book Search, which only showed very small amounts of text from a given book. Instead, most books will now allow readers to preview 20% of the book.
Book Rights Registry
According to Google, the Book Rights Registry will also help to address the 'orphan' works problem. For a lot of out-of-print books, it is virtually impossible to establish the current copyright holder. However, given that the Books Registry will also be responsible for distributing the income from licensing and advertising, Google hopes that this will be an incentive for rightsholders to claim their abandoned works.
Licenses for Libraries
Libraries, universities, and other organizations will also be able to purchase an institutional subscription, which will give users the ability to access the full text of all the titles in the Google Books index. This, depending on the pricing, could turn out to be a revolutionary development for libraries.
Google Books is already changing the way many of us are doing our research, and having access to even more books is only going to move this trend forward even faster.
It is important to note that this settlement only applies to U.S. copyright holders. Users outside of the U.S. will not see any changes to Google Books yet.