Google Set Compete with Amazon in the Online Book Market?
Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is closer than ever to achieve its long-pursued goal of becoming the world’s biggest librarian after last week it reached a legal settlement with the Association of American Publishers (AAP). The corporation will now be granted access to in-copyright books from the members of the AAP.
“We are pleased that this settlement addresses the issues that led to the litigation. It shows that digital services can provide innovative means to discover content while still respecting the rights of copyright-holders.” said Tom Allen, president and chief executive of the AAP, as quoted by The Guardian.
The Google Library project was launched in 2004 with the purpose of scanning and indexing the world’s literary heritage. The company provides bibliographic information, extracts from the text and the option of reading or downloading books from the database. Out-of-copyright books such as Shakespeare’s works are offered to users for free. Books in copyright can be bought and the profits go through a US Books Rights Registry into the hands of publishers and authors. Strictly digital works sold through Google’s service would deliver 70 percent of the sales revenue to the author and 30 percent to Google.
!m(/uploads/story/538/thumbs/pic1_inline.png)The project was viewed as controversial by a number of authors including the descendents of John Steinbeck and Dr Seuss, who argued that books, which are out of print but still subject to copyright, could not be copied and sold without the author’s, or that of his estate’s, permission.
Google reached the “Google Book Search Settlement Agreement” with AAP back in 2008 when it announced it was going to pay $125 million to settle the lawsuit for copyright infringement. The settlement was rejected on 22 March 2011 when the US supervising judge Denny Chin ruled out for a revision of the terms. Last week’s agreement will not be subjected to a similar interference as this time the court is not required to approve the terms. The financial side of the settlement was not made public.
The Authors Guild, which jointly filed the 2005 lawsuit with the AAP, pledged it would fight on. “Google continues to profit from its use of millions of copyright-protected books without regard to authors’ rights, and our class-action lawsuit on behalf of U.S. authors continues,” said Paul Aiken, executive director of the Authors Guild, as quoted by Reuters.
The new settlement gives authors the right to choose whether their copyright books will be included in the Google Books Library Project.
Another recent innovation by the American multibillion company is the launch of a credit card for small businesses. The new service will provide loans between $200 and $100,000 a month meant solely for purchasing ads. The Google AdWords Business Credit card will have an interest rate of 11.9 percent, which according to the company’s treasurer Brent Callinicos is “low” and “generous”. The service will be available in the UK starting Monday 8 October. The announcement comes days after Amazon promised it is going to offer loans to some of its online sellers in order to accelerate its marketplace growth.
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