Lest we think that the lawsuit against Google that has been spinning its wheels for six years and gone precisely nowhere was the extent of the Authors Guilds efforts to fight the Google Books scanning projects, the Guild has struck again with a lawsuit against the universities that partnered with Google in the project, and the cooperative organization, HathiTrust, set up to manage those works.

The Authors Guild, its counterparts from various Commonwealth countries, and a group of authors have filed suit to block the use of unauthorized scans of copyrighted works from the universities libraries as part of a project to build a group archive. A separate suit targets an orphaned works project which aims to sell e-versions of still-in-copyright works whose rights-holders cannot be found.

The authors’ coalition would like to see everything grind to a halt—Google and the libraries kept from any further scanning, the HathiTrust’s orphaned works project shuttered, and the digital copies on its servers impounded. The digital works wouldn’t be deleted, but it wants to see "any computer system storing the digital copies powered down and disconnected from any network, pending an appropriate act of Congress." (Note that they want them shut down and unplugged, just to be sure.)

Of course, judging from the progress in the Google lawsuit, this case might go nowhere just as fast.


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