Read all about Google's "groundbreaking agreement with authors and publishers."
Today we're delighted to announce that we've settled that lawsuit and will be working closely with these industry partners to bring even more of the world's books online. Together we'll accomplish far more than any of us could have individually, to the enduring benefit of authors, publishers, researchers and readers alike.
It will take some time for this agreement to be approved and finalized by the Court. For now, here's a peek at the changes we hope you'll soon see."
Unfortunately for me, the changes outlined in the settlement only apply to the US.
Some snide commentary from moi:
Google writes, "For Library Project books that are still in copyright, our results are like a card catalog; we show you info about the book and, generally, a few snippets of text showing your search term in context." Is a card catalogue really the analogy most of your users are going to understand these days?
Google writes: "We believe it will be a tremendous boon to the publishing industry to enable authors and publishers to earn money from volumes they might have thought were gone forever from the marketplace." Yeah, like the publishers couldn't reprint volumes they thought were gone forever? And let's not mention the tremendous boon to people who want to read the books!
But seriously, there's some really great stuff in here for the user. Anything that's been digitized and is out of print will now be available full text online, either for free (out of copyright) or purchase (still in copyright). Prices TBD, of course. Also cool, "the agreement also creates opportunities for researchers to study the millions of volumes in the Book Search index. Academics will be able to apply through an institution to run computational queries through the index without actually reading individual books."
Anyhoo, looks like the Google Book Searh Project will continue on, which is a good thing, IMHO. You can also read the press releases from the AAP side. There are quite a few more details available there.