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Saturday, August 4, 2012

7 Years of Google against Writers

The search giant has begun to fight back against a class action that had been brought by numerous writers. Those accused Google of copying their books without permission. The class action started after the search engine tried to build the biggest digital book library in the world.

Press reports said that the case has been dragging on for 7 years already. Recently an American judge Denny Chin rejected a sweeping $125 million settlement of the case, saying that the settlement went too far since it provided the search giant with a “de facto monopoly” to massively copy books without permission. It also served to “further entrench” its market power in Internet searches.

The statistics say that Google has scanned over 20,000,000 books and posted English-language snippets of over 4,000,000. Although the snippets had to comply with copyright legislation governing fair use, the Authors Guild and outfits that represent photographers and graphic artists claimed that it amounted to “massive copyright violation”.

Today the search engine is trying to strike back, saying that the writers have shown no economic harm from its scanning and display of their books and the creation of a searchable index to find the works. In addition, Google went on a hard sell of its services, claiming that the writers actually benefit since the database might help people find and purchase their works. Google insists that there’s a significant public benefit from getting access to data that might otherwise not be found.

However, the Authors Guild disagrees and currently wants the court to grant summary augment in its favor. We’ll see what the court decides on this long-lasting case.

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