Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue


Google, The Courts, The Authors and The Democratization of Knowledge

Google began a rather noble project about eight years ago originally called Google Print (now known as Google Books). This project’s intention was (and is) to establish the world’s largest digital library.

Google began with out-of-print books and later got into getting permission to digitize more current books still covered under copyright. Apparently, though, they screwed up in the way they went about the permission-getting and that started generating lawsuits. Trying to shortcut the system often results in a clusterfuck.

Enter publishing intrigue — And we love to delve into intrigue on this blog, no?

I believe the procedure used by Google to try to get more books digitized faster was by some rogue legal procedure/document that said the authors had to opt out of the project rather than to opt in individually. In other words, they assumed all were in and started digitizing desired books like crazy.

Google has already scanned 20 million books (apparently not complying with copyright law) and are being sued by numerous authors through the Authors Guild to the tune of $750 per book. WHOA, you do the math.

These juicy details provided by AP on Crain’s New York Business:

Federal judge delays Google case pending appeal

The case will be stalled while the court considers an appeal by Google in a legal battle over the search-engine giant’s project to create the world’s largest digital library.


A federal appeals judge agreed Monday to delay a court challenge to Google Inc.’s plans to create the world’s largest digital library while an appeals panel considers whether authors should receive class status.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan issued its one-page after the matter was raised with Circuit Judge Raymond J. Lohier Jr. The case will be stalled while the court considers an appeal by Google. According to the order, both sides agreed to the stay of district court proceedings before Circuit Judge Denny Chin, who began hearing the case seven years ago before he was elevated to the 2nd Circuit.

Judge Chin had granted class status in May, saying it was “more efficient and effective” for the authors to be considered as a class rather than suing individually. The Mountain View, Calif.-based Google asked to delay all proceedings pending its appeal. Judge Chin had refused to do so, saying a stay could delay proceedings for a year or more.

Lawyers on both sides did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Google already has scanned more than 20 million books for the project. The Authors Guild has said it is impractical…

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