PaidContent has a piece by Jeff John Roberts looking at the current status of the Authors Guild vs. Google court case involving Google’s actions in scanning millions of copyrighted e-books. The case is moving slowly forward with new motions presented today, that Judge Chin has promised to rule on later.

The Authors Guild wants Chin to okay its request for class-action status to let the US’s writers sue together. Google argues that the Guild doesn’t have standing to sue on authors’ behalf, and the suits should be brought by individual authors who feel they have been wronged—and that the suit should leave out all the writers who are perfectly fine with the scanning program.

The Authors Guild had been joined in its suit by publishers, but the publishers have been dropping out one by one to come to their own settlements with Google. The Authors Guild soldiers on.

As Roberts points out, the e-book landscape has changed considerably since the suits were filed in 2005, or even since the original 3-way settlement proposal was rejected in 2010. At the time, critics were concerned Google would dominate the nascent e-book market, but those worries now seem laughable beside Amazon’s dominance on the one hand, and the publishers and Apple facing Justice Department antitrust sanctions on the other.

In any event, it doesn’t look like this case will be settled any time soon, but it’s nice to know that it’s still chugging along. Maybe someday we’ll finally get to know the outcome.


  1. Yes, at seven years and counting, following this case takes the patience of a Job. A giant like Google can offer nice goodies as a distraction. That was the original settlement. Or it can delay with motion after motion. That’s now.

    I am happy to see that judges are began to get testy with all the high-tech firms (Apple, Samsung etc.) who’re suing mostly to created FUD–fear, uncertainty and doubt. Maybe Judge Chin will develop a similar response to this dispute and push it toward a conclusion.

    My solution would be some reasonable sum per book copied. Anything the author (those orphan titles) doesn’t claim after five years or so could go into a fund to create that author rights database that the Authors Guild has been longing for ever so many years. Authors could also designate their money to the fund.

  2. Let’s not lose track of the fact that Google has violated both civil and criminal copyright law by illegally scanning (and preparing to sell) millions of in-copyright books. Google’s ink cloud about “orphan works” is so much hogwash, and carries no legal validity. At present Google is following a typical sleazy strategy: 1. Trying to force each individual victim to sue against the money and might of Google’s resources; 2. Paying off or individually threatening off some of the plaintiffs; 3. Continuing it’s dishonest propaganda campaign. Let’s hope Judge Chin has the guts and brains to nuke Google.

    Speaking of nuking, why hasn’t Google been CRIMINALLY charged? It wouldn’t happen to have anything to do with the cozy connections to Obama would it? I mean, a Google CEO was simultaneously an advisor to Obama’s campaign. That wouldn’t affect the decision to turn a blind eye to Google’s criminal actions, would it?

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