Google Books

Google Books has gone under many names, from Google Print (including Print for Libraries and Print for Publishers) to Google Book Search. Many university and scholarly presses participated in the Print for Publishers program, allowing their print publications to be indexed and displayed to an appropriate extent through Google Books while protecting their own, their authors' and third parties' rights. The Library program proved controversial, as Google undertook agreements to scan, digitize, and copy not only public domain works from research libraries, but also the in-copyright collections of at least some of those libraries. Participating libraries included the Bodleian, Harvard University Library, the University of Michigan Library, the New York Public Library, and Stanford University Library.

While plans for a Google ebook program, through which publishers can sell digital editions of books to consumers for access on PCs and mobile devices, developed, the library scanning program led to suits being filed against Google by both authors and publishers in 2005. Below you'll find a timeline of news updates on that suit, as well as links to relevant articles, commentary, and documentation.

The Suit Against Google


October 4, 2012— Google and the AAP announce a private settlement. The Authors Guild suit against Google continues.

AAP Statement on Settlement

March 22, 2011Judge Denny Chin rejected the revised settlement agreement. Download the text of the court's decision here.

Reactions to the Settlement Rejection

Reports on the decision from Publishers Weekly, the New York Times, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and Inside Higher Ed.

Statements from parties: AAP, Authors Guild

"After Rejection, a Rocky Road for Google Settlement" (Publishers Weekly, 3/22/11)

"Google Book Settlement Rejected" (Library Journal, 3/22/11)

"Inside Judge Chin's Opinion" (James Grimmelmann, 3/22/11)

"Research Libraries See Google Decision as Just a Bump on the Road to Widespread Digital Access" (CHE, 3/24/11)

Interview with Pamela Samuelson on GBS ruling, (CHE, 3/24/11)

"The GBS: Where Things Stand and Some Sugeestions for What's Next" (David Crotty, The Scholarly Kitchen, 3/24/11)

"Thank You, Judge Chin" (Siva Vaidhyanathan, Chronicle Review, 3/24/11)

"Six Reasons Google Books Failed" (Robert Darnton, NYRBlog, 3/28/11)

Access a series of recorded conversations about the Google Book Settlement (including the latest development) with copyright legal expert Lois Wasoff hosted by the Copyright Clearance Center.

February 18, 2011—The Court extended the deadline for filing claims to one year after the issuing of any order approving the amended settlement. If the settlement is approved, the filing deadline will be no earlier than February 22, 2012. More information at the Google Book Settlement site.

November 13, 2009—Parties filed a modified settlement with the court. Google has posted a PDF outlining the changed terms.

November 9, 2009—An amended settlement will be filed with the court on 11/9/09, to address concerns from the Justice Department and other responses to the original settlement. Readers can browse the many settlement responses here: http://thepublicindex.org/documents/responses

October 28, 2008—Google, the Authors Guild, and the publisher plaintiffs announced that they had reached a settlement agreement. The settlement must now be approved by the court. An excellent documentation round-up for the settlement is posted via the Authors Guild.

AAUP members can request members-only memos summarizing the basics of the agreement's terms and important deadlines from This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

October 19, 2005—Five publishing companies (McGraw-Hill, Simon & Schuster, Penguin Group USA, Pearson Education, and Wiley) filed a lawsuit against Google. The suit seeks an injunction to prevent the infringement of copyright through the Google Library scanning project. The lawsuit is supported by the Association of American Publishers. Download the publishers' complaint

September 20, 2005—The Authors Guild and three authors filed suit against Google, alleging massive copyright infringement in Google's unpermissioned library scanning project. AAUP agrees with the Authors Guild that the Google Library program infringes authors' copyrights, and we hope that the suit will spur Google to reopen discussions with publishers and authors about the appropriate treatment of works under copyright.
Read the complaint filed by the Authors Guild

August 12, 2005—Google issued a new "opt-out" policy for its Google Print for Library program. The AAUP Board of Directors has issued a statementicon.pdf in response to Google's announcement.

May 20, 2005—AAUP Executive Director Peter Givler sent a letter to Googleicon.pdf outlining 16 questions or areas of concern that the association has about Google's recently announced Library project, and requesting substantive answers.

Articles and Other Information on Google Books and the Settlement

The Googlization of Everything
A blog and book-in-progress by Siva Vaidhyanathan, cultural historian and media scholar at the University of Virginia, hosted by the Institute for the Future of the Book.

Library Copyright Alliance Chart of Possible Paths for Lawsuit Settlement or Resolution

"Fair Use in Theory and Practice: Reflections on Its History and the Google Case,"icon.pdf by Sanford G. Thatcher, Director, Penn State University Press

"Google and the Book Publishers: Testing the Limits of Fair Use in the Digital Environment,"icon.pdf by Peter Givler
Reprinted with permission from: Bright Ideas, Fall 2005, Vol. 14, No. 2, published by the New York State Bar Association, One Elk Street, Albany, New York 12207

"Google Library: Beyond Fair Use?" by Elisabeth Hanratty, Duke Law & Technology Review, 2005, No. 10.

"Google This: The Bottom Line" by Georgia K. Harper, Manager, Intellectual property Section, Office of the General Counsel of the University of Texas System.

Google books partner program info and Google Books Library Project info

The Google contract with the University of Michigan was made available through that state's freedom of information laws. The contract and other materials on the Michigan scanning program are available through the university's web site.

Other Digitization Projects

The Open Content Alliance: This project plans on working solely with public domain and permissioned works, and its index will be open to any search engine. MSN and the British Library also joined in a scanning project to be included in the OCA.

The Open Library: A new wiki-like online library that seeks to feature every book in an open, free, and non-proprietary online catalog, including links to full- or searchable full-text, information on library holdings, and purchase options. The Open Library is partnering with the OCA and Internet Archive.