February 19, 2010 | By Fred von Lohmann

Google Book Search Settlement: Updating the Numbers, Part 1

In the wake of yesterday's fairness hearing on the Google Book Search settlement, this might be a good time, while Judge Chin is deliberating, to take a moment to update some of the numbers about the settlement. These numbers were culled from settlement documents (thanks to Prof. James Grimmelmann for much of that), Google's presentation at the fairness hearing, and congressional testimony.

[Note: these are Google's numbers and it wouldn't be surprising if others disputed them.]

First, how many books are there? Overall, Google engineer Dan Clancy said that Google's research indicates that there were over 174 million books total worldwide in bibliographic records.

Total number of books in bibliographic records in the world = 174m.

At the fairness hearing, however, Google's lawyer Daralyn Durie told the Court that there are approximately 42 million books total in the collections of libraries partnered in Google's digitization project.

Total number of books held by Google partner libraries = 42m.

How many of these fall under the terms of the settlement, which is limited to in-copyright books published in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Australia, and New Zealand? After subtracting public domain works (estimated at 20% by Google), excluding foreign works, and accounting for duplicate works, Google estimates that 10 million books are subject to the terms of the amended settlement.

Total number of books subject to the amended settlement = 10m.

Of this number, Google believes that half (~5 million) are in-print and half (~5 million) are out-of-print. In earlier Congressional testimony, Google estimated that no more than 20% (or ~1 million) of the out-of-print works would turn out to be true "orphan works" (i.e., works whose copyright owners could not be found).

Google's Dan Clancy estimates that Google has scanned 12 million books so far, which includes 2 million scanned through its Partner Program, another 2 million public domain works, and foreign works that are outside the amended settlement.

Some other numbers to keep in mind while pondering all of this: the Authors Guild claims a membership of over 8,500 and the Association of American Publishers claims to represent over 300 publishers, while 30,000 authors and publishers have already struck deals to be in Google Books through Google's Publisher Partner Program.

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