More than three years of litigation ended yesterday when Google, the Authors Guild, and the Association of American Publishers announced they had reached a settlement over the Google Books Project. According to Publishers Weekly, "As part of the $125 million settlement, Google will pay $45 million to settle the class action lawsuit brought by the Authors Guild. Authors whose books have already been scanned will receive at least $60 per work. Another $34.5 million will go toward the creation of a Book Rights Registry that will be responsible for building a database of rightsholders information and for disbursing all money generated through the use of books in Google Products and Services. (The remaining $45.5 million will go to legal and attorney fees)."
Lots of bits and pieces to digest here, but fundamentally the settlement seems to have hit the right notes. A book copyright registry is a very important step forward.
Approval of the settlement by a federal judge isn't expected before the middle of 2009.
Quite a few links about this story to pass along: Publishers Weekly, New York Times, The Guardian, librarian.net, Off the Shelf, Dan Cohen, settlement text and Authors Guild press releases, Google Books settlement page, Association of American Publishers settlement page, Settlement FAQ (surprisingly detailed).