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Authors

Jonathan Band

Abstract

In its Library Project, Google is scanning millions of books from the world’s leading research libraries to include in a searchable database. This scanning has occurred without the copyright owners’ authorization, leading to the class action copyright infringement lawsuit, Authors Guild v. Google, Inc. The central legal issue in the litigation is whether copyright law’s fair use doctrine provides Google with a defense against the authors’ claims. Ultimately, the parties reached a settlement. The proposed Settlement Agreement is an extremely complex document which, if approved by the court, will govern the future of the Google Library Project. It creates a mechanism that allows Google to scan and display the full text of millions of books. In exchange, Google will pay fees to each book's rightsholder. The proposed settlement has precipitated a heated public debate over competition concerns, privacy, intellectual freedom, and the rights of authors and publishers. This article traces the history of the Google Library Project and discusses in-depth the original Google Library Project, the litigation, the original Settlement Agreement, the debate concerning the approval of the Settlement Agreement, and the Amended Settlement Agreement.

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