The Authors’ Guild Inc. also has a separate suit against Google, seeking $750 in damages for every copyrighted book that Google has scanned over the past eight years.
Despite that lawsuit, Google has made digital copies of more than 20 million books so far. The copyrights on many of those books have already expired making them fair game and not part of any infringement damages that might be awarded.
Even if just one-quarter of the books scanned so far by Google are protected by copyrights, the company would be liable for nearly $4 billion if a court sides with authors.
The Association of American Publishers, which had been a plaintiff in the lawsuit, reached an out-of-court settlement with Google on Oct. 4. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
“The publishers’ private settlement, whatever its terms, does not resolve the authors’ infringement claims against Google,” The Authors Guild said in a statement that day. “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.”
Google has denied the allegations of infringement in court and in announcing its settlement with the publishers.
“Google is a company that puts innovation front and center with all that it does,” Google’s chief legal officer, David Drummond, said in a statement. “By putting this litigation with the publishers behind us, we can stay focused on our core mission and work to increase the number of books available to educate, excite and entertain our users via Google Play,” a digital store.