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Appeals court rules HathiTrust book scanning is fair use
June 10, 2014 | 3:43 pm

Ars Technica reports that the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled on the HathiTrust case, the legal sibling to the Google Books lawsuit. HathiTrust is the organization of university libraries that provided books to Google for scanning purposes in return for receiving copies for themselves. A Federal judge ruled HathiTrust to be fair use in October, 2012, and now the appeals court has upheld that ruling (PDF). The court found that, in scanning the books but not making their full text available (save to handicapped users, who have a special exemption under copyright law), the libraries were...

In Google Books appeal, Authors Guild decries Google’s impact on Amazon sales
April 12, 2014 | 6:12 am

The Authors Guild is appealing Google’s November fair use win in its Google Book scanning case. The Guild says that Google is “yanking readers out of online bookstores” and stifling online bookstore competition with its digitized books. "Google emptied the shelves of libraries and delivered truckloads of printed books to scanning centers, where the books were converted into digital format," the Guild's lawyers said. They wrote that the library project was designed to lure potential book purchasers away from online retailers like and drive them to Google. Wait, what? ...

Judge Chin dismisses suit over Google Books mass scanning as fair use, setting stage for appeal
November 14, 2013 | 8:26 pm

Juli already mentioned the big news of the day: Google has prevailed in the Authors Guild’s copyright case against it for scanning millions of books for its Google Books project. Judge Chin determined that Google Books constituted a fair use, granted Google’s motion for a summary judgment, and dismissed the case. But let’s look at the background a little. This ruling comes a few months after an appeals court ruled back at the beginning of July that Judge Chin needed to hold up on deciding whether the Authors Guild could claim class action status and look at the fair...

Google makes case for Google Books scanning as ‘transformative’ fair use
August 28, 2013 | 10:15 am

Is Google’s book scanning practice “transformative”? Google argues that it is, the Authors Guild argues that it isn’t, This could be an important part of determining whether Google scanning all those books in violation of copyright could be considered a “fair use.” It follows on the heels of the appeals court decision back in July requiring that the circuit court rule on whether Google Book Search constituted fair use before deciding if the suit warranted class action status. Google argues that its book search program was such an improvement over existing search functionality for books that its use was...

The Internet Archive’s Open Library is violating authors’ copyrights
July 10, 2013 | 8:53 pm

Open Library is a project of Brewster Kahle’s Internet Archive. We’ve written about Kahle, the Archive, and Open Library a few times, including some times I’d forgotten about. Kahle’s Internet Archive was first founded as a way to keep a historical record of the ever-changing Internet for the benefit of future sociological and cultural researchers; it later expanded into archiving other media as well. More recently, Kahle started collecting print books, and scanning them as well as archiving them; it was his intention to collect and save one of every print book ever published. These scanned books would also...

Google Books appeals court ruling denies Authors Guild class action status, demands ruling on fair use
July 1, 2013 | 8:52 pm

Hey, remember the big e-book trial? No, not that one, the other one. The latest news to come out of the courts about the big Authors Guild vs Google case is that the Second Court of Appeals has sided with Google in putting a hold on Judge Chin’s decision that the Authors Guild could have class-action status to represent all authors who had been wronged by Google. Perhaps the more interesting part of the decision, however, was why they did it. The Second Court said that they felt the question of class action status was premature at...

Google appeals class action certification in Google Books case
November 12, 2012 | 10:49 pm

The Google Books lawsuit proceeds apace. paidContent and CNet report that, in Google’s latest filing, the search giant is appealing the court’s decision to certify class action status for the Authors Guild. Google argues that the majority of writers actually approve of its scanning (58% according to a Google-commissioned survey), and that its scanning to provide search capability is a transformative fair use. Google suggests that even if the court rules it is not fair use in general, it will still have to decide on a case by case basis whether each individual book is or not. Is Google...

Digital Public Library of America faces uncertainty over functions, copyright
June 10, 2012 | 8:49 pm

On MIT’s Technology Review, Nicholas Carr takes an in-depth look at the creation of the Digital Public Library of America, an attempt at a non-commercial universal electronic library (which I also mentioned last month) that hopes to provide universal access to as much of human knowledge as it can. Carr first looks at Google’s attempt to create Google Book Search, and the negotiated settlement that was thrown out as too overreaching. Though Google is moving ahead with its legal defense, the search market has shifted toward social networking meaning that a book search might not be as attractive to Google...

Google moves forward with lawsuit dismissal requests
December 23, 2011 | 3:22 pm

google-books-logoArs Technica has a look at the current filings and legal strategies in the Google Books case. There are three current cases against Google—two 2005 cases involving publishers and authors, which are the ones involved in the settlement that failed after four years of work, and one in 2010 from photographers and illustrators. Google appears close to a separate settlement in the publishers’ case. But Google is likely to carry on its battle with the authors, photographers, and other individual copyright holders. Some authors consider the fight a matter of principle. And even if Google convinced...

Impatient Google Books judge sets firm settlement deadline
July 19, 2011 | 7:06 pm

Denny Chin, the judge in the Authors Guild versus Google Books case, seems to be getting more and more frustrated the longer this six-year-old case drags on. In the latest hearing on the matter today, he set a firm deadline of September 15th for all parties involved to come up with a new settlement. Judge Chin had rejected the much-vaunted $125 million previous settlement back in March, feeling that it gave too much power to Google. He expressed the opinion that an opt-in system, in which authors and publishers explicitly had to allow their books to be made available,...

Google Video decision suggests books might not be safe either
April 28, 2011 | 1:49 am

A couple of days ago, Simon Barron at the Guardian posted a piece that claimed “Google can’t be trusted with our books,” because the company decided out of the blue to shut down Google Videos and pitch all user-uploaded content on the site in order to focus more on its search. A public outcry convinced Google to backpedal to the extent that it would see about preserving the content and making it available elsewhere, but Barron sees the original decision as a sign that Google might choose to dump any content at any time if it wants to. ...

Tim O’Reilly interviewed on piracy and the future of publishing
March 27, 2011 | 12:07 am

Forbes has a very interesting three-page interview with Tim O’Reilly in which he discusses a number of things about piracy, the e-book market, and the future of publishing. Back in 2002, O’Reilly described piracy as “progressive taxation” on fame, and has been quoted in defenses of piracy ever since (including mine). He’s got some more fascinating insights to give here. The first question has to do with the “death of print”. O’Reilly points out that print probably won’t die, but electronic media will transform what a “book” is. He uses an example of electronic maps, such as Google Maps—no...

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