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Google to authors: sue us individually, not as a class

updated 07:50 pm EDT, Thu May 3, 2012

Google seeks to remove two groups from book-scanning suit

Search engine giant Google is seeking to have the Authors Guild and the American Society of Media Photographers removed from a half-decade-long lawsuit. In a process that began in February, Google attorney Daralyn Durie informed Judge Denny Chin in Manhattan federal court that authors and photographers would have better individual results on their own. Joanne Zack, the Authors Guild lawyer for the case, contested Google's claim. Judge Chin did not rule today on Google's petition.

Google's primary argument to get the groups ejected from the suit is a copyright ownership one. Google claims the groups are not the owners of the copyrights, and they do not possess facts about copyright ownership, economic issues, or specific details to each individual case.

The Authors Guild's stance remains that the authors should be certified as a class because millions of affected artists would not have enough money to pursue a legal remedy, and the individual monetary reward would make individual suits impractical. Zack added that indirect intimidation of fighting a company as large and powerful as Google may also hinder individual suits.

After much deliberation and review, Judge Chin tossed out a mutual $125 million settlement between Google and The Authors Guild in March of 2011. In theory, the judge supports Google's goals for the 150 million-book scanning project, and states it would be a windfall for libraries, schools, and researchers. The Judge, however, does not approve of Google's methodology in acting first, and getting permission later only after complaints.

By Electronista Staff
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  1. Inkling

    Senior User

    Joined: Jul 2006


    Google's Rubber Man

    Google lawyers are like the rubber man in a freak show. First they stretch one way, claiming with the Google Book Settlement, that the Author's Guild could represent every author on the planet even those who'd never heard of the settlement, the Authors Guild or Google. Now they're claiming that the Author's Guild can't even represent authors who belong to it, "that authors and photographers would have better individual results on their own." Yeah, as if the average author could afford to sue a giant like Google.

    There is a common thread behind everything Google's lawyers do. The Berne Convention and copyright law be damned. The principles of class action law and the very existence of it in other legal systems be damned. All that matters is what enriches Google's coffers. And to achieve that, they're willing to bend international treaties and laws every which way but right.

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