I’m cautiously optimistic about this:
Google will pay $125 million to resolve claims by authors and publishers and to pay legal fees, as well as create a Book Rights Registry where copyright holders can register works to get a cut of Internet ad revenue and online book sales.
The agreement will also make many in-copyright, out-of-print books available for readers in the U.S. to search, preview and buy online. And instead of small snippets, copyright protected books will now have 20 percent of the content available for preview.
“What makes this settlement so powerful is that in addition to being able to find and preview books more easily, users will also be able to read them,” writes David Drummond, Senior Vice President, Corporate Development, and Chief Legal Officer of Google. “If a reader in the U.S. finds an in-copyright book through Google Book Search, he or she will be able to pay to see the entire book online.”
I’m perfectly prepared for it to make no difference in practice, but if it does—if I notice a substantial decrease in the number of times I hit the thrice-damned “snippet search” or, even worse, “No preview available”—it will be very good news indeed. (Via MetaFilter.)