Google has struck a deal with the Association of American Publishers (AAP) that should allow a controversial book-scanning project to keep going. The deal ends seven years of legal strife and potentially paves the way for more ebooks, particularly orphan works, to appear on Google Play. A similar conflict between Google and the Authors Guild continues.
Google has long insisted that its book-scanning activities are fair use, though many disagree. When the project launched in 2004, the plan was to digitize every book and offer snippets to consumers, along with links that would allow them to purchase a full copy. That rather utopian ideal never really worked out, and within a year there was so much legal turmoil surrounding the plans that it looked for a while as if Google was going to face a firm defeat.
The precise terms of the deal between Google and the AAP have not been revealed, but PaidContent reports that Google plans to launch new analytics tools that would benefit publishers. The deal seems to allow Google to go ahead with its scanning project, while giving copyright holders much greater control over how those scans are used. What does the deal mean for the future of ebooks? Time will tell, although some are already predicting that the biggest loser will be Amazon.