All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2022 Managing IP is part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC group.

Google Books library ruling bad news for Author’s Guild

The libraries that supplied the books for Google’s effort to create the world’s largest online library were covered by fair use, a judge has ruled

The Author’s Guild had claimed the libraries that provided millions of works to the search engine to be scanned for the Google Books project without asking writers’ permission were infringing its members’ copyright.

But Judge Harold Baer of the District Court for the Southern District of New York said he could not imagine a definition of fair use that would cause him to terminate “this invaluable contribution to the progress of science and cultivation of the arts”. He also emphasised the public interest in the project’s aim of making books available digitally to visually impaired people.

The Author’s Guild is also suing Google in a separate lawsuit. While this month’s ruling for the libraries in The Author’s Guild v Hathitrust does not guarantee Google will prevail, it bodes well for the search engine.

“Certainly I would think that the judges are watching each other, but they are separate cases and separate defendants,” said Hillel Parness of Robins Kaplan Miller & Ciresi, who has been following the litigation.

Parness noted that statements made by Judge Denny Chin, who rejected a previous attempt by the Author’s Guild and Google to reach a class action settlement, suggested Chin may have concerns about Google’s “opt-out rather than opt-in” policy.

The ruling comes just one week after the search engine announced it had reached a separate settlement with the Association of American Publishers (AAP) over Google Books, ending a seven-year legal dispute.





More from across our site

Lawyers should pay attention to APJs’ questions and remember that PTAB proceedings aren’t jury trials, say former PTAB judges
The USPTO cancelled ‘Galavava’ and 'Surfstar Wake' and partly cancelled ‘Heika’ this month
We have published all the 2022 rankings of the leading firms for patent litigation and protection work
In-house and private practice counsel say UK judges have raised the bar for preliminary injunction requests
António Campinos will serve another five years as EPO president – perhaps he’ll calm unrest at the office in that time
LGBTQ IP lawyers say using rainbow colours and posting solidarity messages on social media must be followed by concrete action
Brand owners bemoan counterfeiters’ latest wheeze and say enforcement authorities should get more involved
Counsel at Bayer, Novartis, a generics company and other firms debate what the WTO’s patent waiver will mean in the short and long term
The patent office report found that stakeholders were still divided over subject matter eligibility but broadly wanted clarity
The UKIPO published the results of its consultation on AI and IP today, June 28, and plans to shake up the rules on copyright and data
We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.
I agree