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The Authors Guild Files Appeal in Google Books Lawsuit

Never one4312159033_6b1c4ce360[1] to give up on a fight, The Authors Guild filed a new appeal last week in the Google Books lawsuit. I don’t yet know the grounds for the appeal, but I have gotten my hands on a copy of the notice of appeal (found via @grimmelm, thanks) and I can confirm the news.

The Authors Guild is appealing the 14 November summary judgement which found that Google had not committed copyright infringement in the Google Books scanning project. That project started some 9 years ago and had been the subject of an ongoing legal battle since 2005, and that summary judgement brought it to an abrupt middle (it was safe to assume it would be appealed).

On a related note, I don’t have any information on who else besides the AG is party to this appeal. The AAP and 5 publishers had also sued Google over this issue but are not named in the notice of appeal.

Update: As has been pointed out to me by Andi Sporkin of the AAP, the AAP and the 5 publishers settled with Google in October 2012. Somehow that detail slipped my mind.

Last month Judge Denny Chin found that Google’s widespread scanning of public domain and in-copyright books was covered under the fair use exception to US copyright law. This was an expansion of the fair use principle,  but according to the judge "In my view, Google Books provide significant public benefits," adding later that the program "advances the progress of the arts and sciences, while maintaining respectful consideration for the rights of authors and other creative individuals, and without adversely impacting the rights of copyright holders."

As had been clear for the longest time, Google had scanned the books to add to their search results, not to sell copies the PD titles were fully visible, but the copyrighted titles were only available as limited snippets (unless the copyright holder agreed otherwise). According to the judge the additional ways that readers and researchers could find books helped authors more than it hurt:

Finally, by helping readers and researchers identify books, Google Books benefits authors and publishers. When a user clicks on a search result and is directed to an “About the Book” page, the page will offer links to sellers of the book and/or libraries listing the book as part of their collections. Hence, Google Books will generate new audiences and create new sources of income.

As a result of the holidays, the AAP and TAG were not reachable for comment.

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