After two years of negotiations, Google and the plaintiffs reached a resolution that seemed to satisfy writers and publishers and to serve Google's clients. The deal makes electronic books available to public libraries that they never could have afforded otherwise. Additionally, readers and researchers will have greater access to rare and out-of-print books.

First of all, the $125 million settlement included $45 million in payments to authors whose books Google already had scanned without their permission. Google would pay another $34.5 million to set up and run the Book Rights Registry, which acts as a claim and payment processing organization for copyright holders. Right holders in the Registry will receive about 63 percent of Google's book-search-related revenue.

Perhaps of greater importance, the settlement established appropriate ways to digitize and use copyrighted books. Using Google, readers will be able to browse a massive number of books from their computers. Google will provide the digital copies to libraries, and those who want to read the book free, online, can do so at U.S. public libraries. Readers also can buy the digitized version online from Google if they wish to do so, and authors would receive a portion of the sale price.

Finally, participation is voluntary. Authors and publishers of copyrighted material have the right to withhold their books from Google digitization if they wish.

Sergey Brin hailed the agreement as a great ...

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