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Business disputes lead to Google settlement

California-based Google is finally ending several business disputes over the scanning of books that have copyright protection. The company has been involved in legal spats with several foreign companies including Syndicat National de l’Edition, Hachette Livre and La Martiniere Group. The business disputes occurred after the companies accused Google of scanning out-of-print books that still were under copyright.

There were also disputes between them over access to content that was copyrighted, as well as privacy issues. The settlement between the companies has no specific financial awards but does include sponsorship of a school-reading program. Google also plans to sell some of the copyrighted works they’ve scanned as e-books and will share any proceeds made with the publishers.

Google will also support monetarily the SGDL Society of Authors’ development of a book author and rightful owners’ database to settle other legal proceedings involving more scanning of copyrighted books for their digital library. The financial terms of this agreement have not been disclosed. The SGDL has stated their agreement with Google will help the authors they represent protect the rights of their online works.

These business disputes came after a French court rules that the book-scanning project by Google violated the copyrights of some publishers and authors. Google unsuccessfully argued that displaying small snippets of the book was considered under copyright law as fair use. The California company appears to have settled the majority of their legal issues with these French companies in a way that benefits everyone and with the term of the settlement, they will hopefully be able to avoid future legal trouble related to this issue.

Source: Bloomberg Business Week, “Google Ends Legal Dispute With French Groups Over Book Scans,” Aoife White, June 11, 2012

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