Google announced on Thursday morning that it has reached a settlement with the Association of American Publishers following seven years of copyright lawsuits. Litigation was first brought against the search giant after it launched its Library Project, which provides free access to popular books.

"The settlement acknowledges the rights and interests of copyright-holders," Google said in a statement. "US publishers can choose to make available or choose to remove their books and journals digitized by Google for its Library Project. Those deciding not to remove their works will have the option to receive a digital copy for their use." Google's senior vice president, corporate development officer and chief legal officer David Drummond also sounded off on the agreement.

"By putting this litigation with the publishers behind us, we can stay focused on our core mission and work to increase the number of books available to educate, excite and entertain our users via Google Play," Drummond said. Tom Allen, the president and CEO of the Association of American Publishers said he is pleased with the settlement.

Neither Google nor the Association of American Publishers discussed the terms of the deal, and Google advised that it does not affect current litigation with the Author's Guild.

[via Google]