The Association of American Publishers (AAP) and Google today announced a settlement agreement that will provide access to publishers’ in-copyright books and journals digitized by Google for its Google Library Project. The dismissal of the lawsuit will end seven years of litigation. For details, read the press release from the American Publishers Association here and from Google here, and early analysis from the trade magazine Publisher’s Weekly and TechDirt. The AAP/Google settlement does not affect the continuing litigation between Google and the Authors’ Guild.
The Library Copyright Alliance (LCA) released a statement on May 16th describing the key features copyright reform proposals should include in order to constitute significant improvement over current law for libraries and their users.
Interested parties are discussing with renewed vigor the issues of orphan works, mass digitization, and even modernization of Section 108 of the U.S. Copyright Act in the wake of the Google Books settlement rejection by Judge Denny Chin of the Southern District of New York. The LCA statement, which represents the needs of library stakeholders in these debates, provides helpful guideposts for these discussions.
Libraries have always advocated for reasonable copyright policy – in the courts as well as in the U.S. Congress. Library activities already benefit from broad, flexible protection under the fair use doctrine and related provisions in current law. The LCA’s statement describes the status quo for libraries as well as the policies that would constitute substantial legislative improvement to existing copyright law.