Late Friday afternoon (April 11), the Authors Guild filed an appellate court appeal in its copyright infringement lawsuit against Google, Publishers Weekly (PW) reported. The appeal seeks to reverse a lower court’s ruling that granted summary judgment to Google, while denying the Guild’s request for partial summary judgment.
The suit stems from Google’s scanning of in-copyright books without permission of authors as part of its Library Project. In its appeal, the Guild points out that the Library Project was motivated by Google’s commercial incentives rather than an altruistic cause to create a digital archive of literature. “Google must not be permitted to build its financial empire of the backs of authors,” the brief states.
The appeal continues the argument the Guild’s attorney, Jan Constatine, made before Congress a few weeks ago, when she said that Google’s Library Project was done in response to Amazon’s launch of Search Inside the Book and was designed to enrich Google’s search engine by adding information from millions of books. While Amazon’s Search Inside the Book function is aimed at selling more books, Google’s Library Project was nothing more than an effort to enhance Google’s site that is “focused on selling advertisements and keeping the resulting revenue,” the brief states. Later in the brief, the Guild contends that the unauthorized copying “lured potential book buyers away from online bookstores and provided no compensation to rightsholders for Google’s revenue-generating uses of their books.”
According to PW, the appeal expressed wonderment about how the District Court could have upheld the Library Project when, about two years earlier, it had been “broadly critical” of the program when it rejected a settlement proposal between authors, publishers, and Google. The Guild claims the lower court’s ruling was deeply flawed and relied on an “unprecedented, expansive and erroneous interpretation of the fair use doctrine.”
Read the full PW article.