Home » Copyright/Intellectual Property, Legal Stuff » In Supreme Court certiorari filing, Authors Guild continues to litigate Google Books case after ten years of failure

In Supreme Court certiorari filing, Authors Guild continues to litigate Google Books case after ten years of failure

2 January 2016

From Chris Meadows at TeleRead:

‘Tis apparently the season for Hail Mary appeals to the Supreme Court. We already heard about Apple’s attempt to get its agency pricing antitrust conviction re-heard. It seems only fitting that, in the same month, the Authors Guild brings to SCOTUS an appeal of the case that some have said was indirectly responsible for the agency pricing situation coming about in the first place.

I refer, of course, to the kerfuffle surrounding Google Books, nee Google Print. The Authors Guild first brought suit against Google over the project all the way back in 2005—before I had even started writing for TeleRead. Google’s crime? Scanning and indexing as many books as it possibly could, to seed a search engine to let people search on their content.

The case dragged on and on and on, losing a few years as an attempt at a settlement that would let Google act as an e-book store meandered into the weeds and got lost, before finally being rejected by Judge Denny Chin as too much of an overreach. Eventually, when the Authors Guild’s request for class-action status made its way up to the appeals court, the appeals court told Judge Chin, “You know, this could be fair use. Why don’t you rule on that first?” Perhaps eagerly grasping at the first available straw to get the case out of his courtroom,Judge Chin ruled it was fair use and dismissed the case, passing it on to the appeals court. Unsurprisingly, the appeals court concurred. Appeals court Judge Pierre Leval gave a great lecture in which he explained exactly why Google books was fair use.

. . . .

Effectively, the Authors Guild is concerned over allowing the willy-nilly copying of twenty million complete books for a commercial purpose to be considered fair use, and wonders if the district and appeals court allowed the “transformative” nature of the use to eclipse the other three factors of the four-factor fair use test. But what really seems to burn their biscuits is that Google is making money off their content, whereas they should be the only ones allowed to make money off their content.

Link to the rest at TeleRead

PG says this is not a good use of the dues paid by Authors Guild members.

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Copyright/Intellectual Property, Legal Stuff

2 Comments to “In Supreme Court certiorari filing, Authors Guild continues to litigate Google Books case after ten years of failure”

  1. “But what really seems to burn their biscuits is that Google is making money off their content, whereas they should be the only ones allowed to make money off their content.”

    AG reminds me too much of Muzac(sp?) down here that wants any and all businesses to pay them for playing any background music — whether the music in question is under some contract with them or not nor whether they would in turn be paying any of the funds gathered to the publisher/song writer/performer(s).

  2. You have to wonder whether the authors who belong to AG are getting their money’s worth for all these wasted legal fees.

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