Google has been trying to bring more material to their book scanning archives for years, but they have been met with a lot of resistance. Both in the United States and France, Google has sifted through countless lawsuits in attempt to bring out-of-print publications to their search archives.
All the way back in 2004, the Authors Guild and Google tried to reach a mutually beneficial settlement that would allow them to continue in their efforts. After several drafts, and an officially amended settlement were denied by the court, Google moved to have the case dismissed. The motion was not granted.
A similar battle in France with the French Publishers Association, and the French Author’s Association seemed to drag on forever as well, but Google has finally reached a deal which will be beneficial for all parties involved. Lawsuits have been withdrawn and Google will be allowed to scan and promote their digital versions of out-of-print books.
Philippe Colombet, Strategic Partner Development Manager of Google Books for France, comments on the new deal with French publishers:
“Much of the world’s information is found on the printed page,”
“But almost 75 percent of the world’s books are out of print and unavailable except to the lucky few who can find old copies in libraries. In order to make this treasure available to everyone, anywhere in the world, we digitised millions of out of print works in US libraries.”
“In this win-win solution, publishers and authors retain control over the commercial use of their books – while at the same time, opening a practical path to bring to a wide audience our decade-long efforts to digitize books,”
“This agreement represents an extension of our larger engagement with French culture,”
“We remain hopeful to reach a solution in the US allowing us to make the world’s books searchable and discoverable online.”
So, while efforts to bring the vast body of knowledge locked away in out-of-print texts in the United States seems to be perpetually stalled, France and Google are moving forward to capitalize on the idea in their country. Hopefully, the Authors Guild and publishers in the US will view the French deal as a model for success, and win-win partnerships, and decide to seek a similar resolution.