Authors to Google Book Search: Pay up!

Authors and publishers are submitting claims to Google for payment under a settlement agreement the search giant reached in a copyright lawsuit that specifies $60 per book and 63 percent of ad revenues.

Authors and publishers of tens of thousands of out-of-print books have submitted claims for compensation from Google Book Search as called for in a settlement agreement to a copyright lawsuit, a lawyer in the case said on Wednesday.

Under a $125 million settlement Google reached in October with book authors and publishers who sued over the company's book-scanning project, the search giant is required to provide notice to authors, publishers, and their heirs and successors that they may be eligible for payment.

The notice is being published in 218 countries and 72 languages, according to a statement from Boni & Zack, a Philadelphia-area law firm that represented the Authors Guild in the lawsuit.

Authors and others are submitting claims on a special Web site that went live January 5, attorney Michael Boni said in an interview. Under the settlement terms, copyright holders will receive $60 per scanned book and 63 percent of ad revenue.

"The notice program is succeeding and notice has already gone out to most of the class members around the world," Boni said. "There is still some more notice to be provided, but we are on track and we are pleased."

Google representatives did not immediately respond to questions via e-mail and telephone.

Google is digitizing the works from many major libraries, including the New York Public Library and the libraries at Stanford and Harvard universities, and is making those texts searchable on pages with advertisements.

The Authors Guild, which represents more than 8,000 authors, sued Google in September 2005, alleging that the company's digitizing initiative amounted to "massive" copyright infringement.

 

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