In 2004, Google entered into agreements with several major research libraries to digitally copy books and other writings in their collections. This project would have many benefits, including increasing availability of these materials and preservation of older and out-of-print works. However, Google had not obtained the permission of the copyright owners of those works – including authors and publishers. In 2005, they brought a class action against Google in the Southern District of New York, alleging a variety of copyright and antitrust theories.
In 2008, the parties entered into a lengthy proposed settlement agreement. After hearings and extensive commentary, in 2011, the court rejected the proposed settlement. Continuing discussions are ongoing among the parties, while legislative relief from Congress is also being pursued.
The antitrust and intellectual property issues raised by the Google Book project and the judicial challenge will be discussed on March 4 by a panel consisting of Doctor Ioannis Lianos of University College London and Professor Jonathan Griffiths of Queen Mary University of London, with Professor Joseph Bauer of Notre Dame Law School serving as moderator.