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An agreement between Google and publishers over the publication of books online has been blocked by a US court.

The web’s leading search engine has made millions of books available online via its eBooks platform.

Google had negotiated a deal to settle a six year old suit claiming infringement of copyright.

The New York court rejected the negotiation, stating the deal would “simply go too far” in giving Google an unfair competitive advantage.

Google proposed to continue to digitise books and sell access online.  In return, they would pay $125m (£76.9m) in royalties ever year to the copyright owners of the scanned books.

Google has already scanned some 15 million books.