“Google scanned its first book ten years ago, the first step in its quest to change how books are accessed and read. This move caused a commotion in the publishing world, where copyright litigation ensued until this year. This story has been chronicled in a new eBook from author Jeff Roberts, called The Battle for the Books, out from tech publisher GigaOM today. Here is the book’s description: “As Google beat a path to the door of the world’s libraries and proceeded to scan everything from War and Peace to Watership Down, the company’s quest to build the largest library triggered a power struggle of massive proportions, as everyone from Amazon to the Justice Department and writers across the world rushed to halt the project.”
“Google is trying to convince the courts to throw out a book-scanning lawsuit filed against it by the Authors Guild. In a brief submitted to the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals last Friday, Google argued that a suit filed on behalf of all authors whose books have been scanned shouldn’t be allowed because most authors support the scanning. Backing up its claim, the company yet again cited a survey that found 58 percent of the authors polled approved of Google scanning their books so the content could be searched online. A full 45 percent said they had already seen or expect to see higher demand for their books as a result of the scanning. And 19 percent said they’ve benefited financially from the scanning.
“The Author’s Guild has suffered another major setback in its fight to stop Google’s ambitious book-scanning project. The Guild lost a key ally when Google settled with a coalition of major publishers last week. Now a judge has ruled that the libraries who have provided Google with their books to scan are protected by copyright’s fair use doctrine. While the decision doesn’t guarantee that Google will win—that’s still to be decided in a separate lawsuit—the reasoning of this week’s decision bodes well for Google’s case. Most of the books Google scans for its book program come from libraries. After Google scans each book, it provides a digital image and a text version of the book to the library that owns the original. The libraries then contribute the digital files to a repository called the Hathitrust Digital Library, which uses them for three purposes: preservation, a full-text search engine, and electronic access for disabled patrons who cannot read the print copies of the books.”
“The Oxford-Google Digitization project – established in 2004 – has reached an exciting stage in its development with the Bodleian Libraries books digitized by Google now fully available to the academic community and the general public for the first time. Much of the material that the Bodleian collaboratively digitized with Google has only been available in “snippet” or “metadata-only” view to users of Google Books outside the US. By making the Bodleian copy of the digitized books available online, the material becomes fully available to all users in PDF format. This feature has proved popular since its soft launch in March of this year. From the initial load of about 335 thousand books, users from all over the world have made already close to 60,000 downloads.”
“The federal judge presiding over challenges to Google Inc.’s plans to create the world’s largest digital library has refused to delay the 7-year-old case while Google appeals his decision to grant authors class certification. U.S. Circuit Judge Denny Chin’s order was put in the court file Wednesday in Manhattan, where he ruled in May that class action was “more efficient and effective” than requiring thousands of authors to sue individually. His order was dated Tuesday.”
“Google Inc has won the right to appeal the granting of class status to thousands of authors suing the search engine company over its ambitious plan to create the world’s largest digital books library. In a brief order, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York granted Google permission to challenge a May 31 decision by U.S. Circuit Judge Denny Chin letting authors sue as a group rather than individually.”
“Authors suing Google over the digitization of their books have asked a New York court to order the Internet company to pay $750 for each book it copied, distributed or displayed. The authors’ filing was lodged in federal court in the Southern District of New York last month, but was only made public on Friday. In the filing, the Authors Guild, whose president is novelist-lawyer Scott Thurow, urged the court to rule that Google’s digitization project does not constitute “fair use” under copyright law.”
“The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed an amicus brief today urging a federal court to find that the fair use doctrine shelters Google’s Book Search “snippet” project from copyright infringement claims from the Authors Guild. EFF was joined by three associations representing over 100,000 libraries, the Association of Research Libraries, the American Library Association, and the Association of College and Research Libraries.”
“Google Inc. (GOOG), owner of the world’s largest search engine, ended legal disputes with a French publishing trade group and a French authors’ association over the U.S. company’s scanning of books. The Syndicat National de l’Edition, which represents more than 600 publishers, and the SGDL Society of Authors agreed with Google to end litigation over Google’s scanning of copyright- protected books without permission, according to two statements today. This means Google no longer faces French legal action over book scanning, according to Bill Echikson, a spokesman for the Mountain View, California-based company.”
Reuters – “Thousands of authors can sue Google Inc in a class-action lawsuit over its plan to create the world’s largest digital book library, a federal judge ruled on Thursday.
U.S. Circuit Judge Denny Chin in Manhattan also rejected Google’s bid to dismiss claims by The Authors Guild and several groups representing photographers and graphic artists, which would have forced their members to sue individually. Plaintiffs in the seven-year-old case have complained that Google’s plan for the library, which would include millions of out-of-print works, amounted to “massive copyright infringement.”
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June 1, 2012Comments Off on Authors win class status over Google digital booksGoogle Books, lawsuits