A settlement has been reached in the lawsuit against Google over the Internet search engine's use of copyrighted material.

According to a statement issued Tuesday by the Authors Guild, the Association of American Publishers and Google, the agreement "will expand online access to millions of in-copyright books and other written materials in the U.S. from the collections of a number of major U.S. libraries participating in Google Book Search."

If approved by a federal court in Manhattan, the settlement will end the legal action, taken against Google two years ago, that had been closely followed by the publishing industry as it debates how copyright law should work online.

Under the Google Print Library Project, millions of copyrighted books are to be indexed on the Internet. Google has called the project an invaluable chance for books to receive increased exposure.

But in papers filed in 2006 in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, the publishers association cited the "continuing, irreparable and imminent harm publishers are suffering ... due to Google's willful (copyright) infringement to further its own commercial purposes."

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