Authors Guild

As first reported by Timothy B. Lee of Ars Technica, on October 10, 2012, a district court judge handed down a decision in Authors Guild v. HathiTrustHathitrust is a long-running copyright infringement case concerning a shared digital repository based at the Univerity of Michigan.

The case is related to the actions brought against Google over the company’s Books Library project, on which we have reported here and here.  The Michigan university library together with a number of other universities formed a repository called the HathiTrust Digital Library (HDL), which contains digital copies of books scanned by Google as part of the Books Library project.  The HDL uses the files for three purposes: a full-text search, preservation, and access for disabled people who cannot read printed copies of the books.  The full-text search is a technology which allows users to search for particular terms across all the works stored in the HDL without revealing any in-copyright material.

Continue Reading District Court Accepts Fair Use in Book Scanning Case

A long-running copyright infringement action by the Authors Guild (a non-profit authors’ organization) against Google has been temporarily placed on pause.  On Monday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit granted Google’s unopposed motion for a stay pending its interlocutory appeal of class certification in The Authors Guild, Inc., et al. v. Google

A copyright-infringement lawsuit challenging the Google Books service will proceed in a New York federal district court, even while an appeals court considers whether the suit can proceed as a class action.

In an order filed Wednesday, Judge Denny Chin declined Google’s request to stay the district-court proceedings. Judge Chin granted class-action status to the plaintiffs in May, certifying a class consisting of “[a]ll persons residing in the United States who hold a copyright interest in one or more Books reproduced by Google as part of its Library Project.”  Google seeks to challenge the certification on the basis (i) that the proposed class representatives cannot adequately represent absent class members who benefit from the Google Books project (an “intra-class conflict”) and (ii) that Google’s principal “fair use” defense is unique to each individual work, defeating the Rule 23(b)(3) requirement that common issues predominate.

Continue Reading District Court: Google Books Case Will Proceed While Class Certification Is Appealed

Google may appeal a New York federal district court’s decision to grant class-action status to a copyright-infringement lawsuit challenging the Google Books service, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled Tuesday.  The Authors Guild, Inc. v. Google, Inc., No. 12-2402 (2d Cir. Aug. 14, 2012).

Google launched its Google Books Library Project in 2004, when it reached agreements with several major research libraries allowing Google to digitally scan the libraries’ collections, which Google then displayed in an online, searchable database. Many works in the Google Books database remain under copyright and were scanned and displayed without permission from copyright holders.

Continue Reading Appeals court allows Google to challenge class certification in Google Books suit