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OPLIN 4Cast #263: Google Books project is back in the legal news

Posted in 4cast

You may recall from an earlier 4cast that the law suit against the Google Books project had its ups and downs last year. It looks like things are going to heat up again in 2012, and we may possibly see a resolution of the question as to whether or not Google’s library book scanning project violates the provisions of copyright law. We might also see some parties – like publishers – reaching a settlement with Google, while others – like authors – do not. Whatever happens, there will be interesting implications for ebooks and copyright.

  • Authors Guild files for class certification in Google case (Publishers Weekly/Andrew Albanese)  “The filing is the first step in the next incarnation of the long-running legal drama over Google’s program to scan library books to create an online index, and could ultimately lead to a ruling as to whether Google’s book scanning amounts to copyright infringement.”
  • Class action filed in Google Books case (Information Today/George H. Pike)  “With the filing, the authors are asking the court to move the case forward as a class action lawsuit, with the guild and authors representing a class of thousands or more individual authors. This could increase the possibility of significant damages against Google if they are found to have infringed on the authors’ copyrights.”
  • Google tries to kick Authors Guild out of court in book case (Ars Technica/Timothy B. Lee)  “Google asked Judge Chin to boot the associations from the courtroom, arguing that copyright infringement lawsuits must be filed by copyright holders themselves, not associations claiming to represent them. If successful, the motion would leave the individual plaintiffs to carry on the lawsuits on their own, weakening the plaintiffs’ position.”
  • Google wants groups removed from Books lawsuits (PC World/Stephen Lawson)  “Google did not file a similar motion to dismiss the lawsuit by the Association of American Publishers. The company is believed to be closer to reaching a settlement with the plaintiffs in that case.”

Legal fact:
The “Google Books case” actually includes three separate lawsuits against Google: one by the Authors Guild, one by the Association of American Publishers (both filed in 2005), and one filed later (in 2010) by the American Society of Media Photographers.