Sony sees Google Books settlement as ‘profoundly positive’


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Sony’s new e-book reader. Credit: HO/AFP/Getty Images

Sony, a major player in the digital reading marketplace, this week stated that the settlement between Google and a group of authors and publishers ‘may have a profoundly positive impact on the market for e-book readers and related devices.’

In a request to file an amicus brief in the 4-year-old copyright case, Sony expressed its support for a settlement under which Google and the rights holders would share revenues derived from commercial use of the company’s vast online database of digitized books.


Under the settlement, Google would be able to sell access to millions of books online, as well as offer for-pay subscriptions that would allow libraries, universities and other institutions unfettered access to the Google Books collection. Google would pay rights holders 67% of the revenues generated from the database.

Google began a large-scale project to scan books at libraries around the nation in 2004.

On Thursday, Google announced that it would support the EPUB digital book format -- also recently embraced by Sony -- for more than 1 million public domain books that users will be able to download and read on reading devices that support the standard.

Separately, Abilene Christian University also filed a letter with the court expressing its support of the settlement.

‘The new access models created by the settlement will be of extraordinary value to research at our institution,’ said Provost Jeanine Varner in a statement, adding that it would lessen ‘inequalities among educational institutions as information becomes available to all students everywhere.’

-- David Sarno

Follow my variable-rate stream of tech, media and culture musings on Twitter: @dsarno