updated 10:35 pm EDT, Mon September 17, 2012
Challenge made to class-action status granted authors
An appeals court judge has temporarily halted trial court proceedings between Google and thousands of authors represented by The Authors Guild pending appeal of an order granting the group of authors class-status. The appeals court has given Google permission to challenge the May 31 decision by Judge Denny Chin to let the authors sue as a group rather than individually.
The Authors Guild has asked a US Federal District Court in New York to force Google to pay $750 per book it scanned for distribution, claiming that Google's effort does not constitute "fair use" under copyright law. Google told Reuters in an email that it believes Google Books "constitutes fair use by allowing users to identify interesting books and find ways to borrow or buy those books, much like a card catalog for the digital age." Google has argued for dismissal of the suit on "fair use" grounds.
A $125 million settlement was reached in March 2011 between Google and The Authors Guild, but was rejected on legal grounds by Judge Denny Chin, despite his saying publicly that he sees tangible benefits to libraries from both the scanning effort and technology developed to scan the books.
Judge Chin said the agreement overreached because it gave Google a "de facto monopoly" to copy books without permission from rights holders, and served to increase its market share in online searches. The United States Justice Department, Amazon.com, and Microsoft had all expressed antitrust concerns about the settlement.
Google Books Statement of Facts Aug 2012