Judge Approves Class-Action Lawsuit Against Google Books

The Authors Guild has been granted the right to file a class action lawsuit against Google following the ruling of a New York federal judge. According to Judge Denny Chin a class action lawsuit is far “more efficient and effective than requiring thousands of authors to sue individually.”

Google originally attempted to ban the class-action lawsuit, claiming that each individual writer should have to sue the company on the merits of their own claims.

Following Judge Denny Chin’s response a Google spokesperson on Thursday responded that Google was “confident that Google Books is fully compliant with copyright law.”

Google claimed in their defense that individual lawsuits would have worked better because “groups” are not the owners of the copyrighted material and they therefore do not possess the individual facts for copyright ownership, economic issues or even specific details about each authors own situation.

The Author’s Guild in 2008 accepted a $125 million settlement from the search giant however Judge Chin dismissed the settlement in March 2011, an agreement that took three years to reach. The Judge did not approve of the way Google reacted to complaints rather than dealing with copyright issues ahead of its scanning effort.

Judge Chin has publicly said he believes Google’s book scanning efforts would be a windfall for libraries who could take advantage of the new system to attract more patrons in a cost effective manner.

If the Guild succeeds in its case against Google it is seeking $750 – $30,000 per work copied.

In a statement Authors Guild president Scott Turow said:

“We’re one big step closer to justice being done for U.S. authors.”