If anybody could be forgiven for missing the deadline to opt out of the Google Books settlement, it's probably the authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
The Israel Antiquities Authority has tapped Google to digitize the famous texts, one of the earliest documents ever discovered chronicling the early years of Christianity. CNN reports that Google will be responsible for scanning the 900 manuscripts, which are actually comprised of more than 30,000 fragments discovered in caves around Israel in the 1940s and 1950s.
Israeli researchers had come to worry about the ability of the scrolls to endure further photography, as exposure to light and air has a negative effect on the paper. Google will use spectral and infrared scanning techniques to make a digital copy of the scrolls, which will then be made available to the public online, according to the report.
All jokes aboutaside, if there was ever a document that had passed into the public domain, it's the Dead Sea Scrolls. Google was sued in 2005 for scanning 20th century books with unexpired copyrights, and a final approval of that settlement with groups representing authors and publishers before a U.S. judge.