Google said Tuesday it had agreed to pay $125 million to settle two copyright lawsuits brought by book authors and publishers over its plan to digitize and show snippets of in-copyright books and to share digital copies with libraries without the explicit permission.

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Google said Tuesday it had agreed to pay $125 million to settle two copyright lawsuits brought by book authors and publishers over its plan to digitize and show snippets of in-copyright books and to share digital copies with libraries without the explicit permission.

Under the settlement, which is subject to court approval, the money will be used to create a book registry, resolve existing claims by authors and publishers and cover legal fees.

Copyright holders also will be able to register their works and receive payment for book sales and use by individuals and for subscriptions by libraries.

Revenue from those programs will be split among Google, the publishers and the authors.

If approved, the settlement could expand online access to millions of in-copyright books available at libraries participating in Google’s Book Search program

The settlement left unresolved the question of whether Google’s unauthorized scanning of copyright books was permissible.

“We had a major disagreement with Google about copyright law, we still do and probably always will,” said Paul Aiken, executive director of the Authors Guild, one of the plaintiffs.

Aiken said the parties were able to set aside those differences to reach a settlement that benefits everyone.

But Terence Ross, a lawyer at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher who teaches copyright law at George Mason Law School, said the settlement is a “clear victory for copyright owners” and validates copyright law for online content

“It really opens the door to a whole new way to use copyrighted materials on the Internet,” said Ross, who isn’t involved in the case, and previously represented clients in trademark suits against Google. “We’re at a time when views of copyright law seem to be in flux; this will remind people it still applies on the Internet.”

The settlement resolves a class-action suit filed on Sept. 20, 2005, by the Authors Guild and certain authors, and a suit filed on Oct. 19, 2005, by five major publisher-members of the Association of American Publishers: McGraw-Hill, Pearson Education, Penguin Group, John Wiley & Sons and Simon & Schuster.

In May, Microsoft ended a program that let Web users search through digital versions of books, ceding the market to Google, which already has about 7 million books scanned.

Microsoft spokesman Michael Marinello didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.

Information from Bloomberg News was used in this report.