Authors and publishers will get some money in return, and we will all benefit from the improved access to digitised books that Google will provide.
The deal sounds like a good one, but not everyone is happy with it. The Department of Justice in the US has begun an investigation to see if it is anti-competitive, and last month a number of library associations got together with Amazon, Yahoo! and Microsoft to form the Open Book Alliance which argues that it should not go forward.
The details of the settlement are complex, and it is almost impossible to be sure what would emerge from it because many of the provisions involve setting up things like a Book Rights Registry, and we don't yet know what they will look like.
But whatever the detail there remains a fundamental problem. It is not that the settlement will give Google indemnity from prosecution should it be found to have scanned books that are in copyright without the copyright owner's position, nor even that it gives Google freedom to exploit scanned content commercially.
It is, rather, that the settlement gives only Google these privileges, and places one company in a prime position to become the world's de facto librarian instead of encouraging open access, open standards and a plurality of services and service providers.
Neither Google nor any other company should be entrusted with that responsibility, and nothing in the detail of the agreement or the funds that will be made available to authors as a consequence can change this.
If Google is given a monopoly, either explicitly in the settlement or implicitly because any other scanning project would be forced to negotiate its own multi-million dollar agreement, then the deal must be rejected.
The proposed settlement came about after Google began a project to scan and index millions of books, including many that are still in copyright.
It was sued by groups representing authors and publishers who felt that scanning books, even if the text was only used to create a searchable index which then pointed readers to the relevant text, was an unlicensed use and therefore illegal.
The book trade was also worried that Google might scan the books under the pretext of creating an index and then start offering them online or even selling them, even though it was always absolutely clear that such behaviour would be a breach of copyright.