Authors Guild appeals against Google Books ruling


A US organisation that represents authors has filed an appeal against a ruling that allowed Google to continue expanding its online catalogue of books.

The Author’s Guild has filed an appeal at the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit urging it to declare that Google Books is in breach of copyright laws. 

In its appeal document, the guild said Google’s attempt to create the “world’s largest digital library” violates the rights of authors and is stifling competition in the internet book market.

The appeal relates to a case from November last year at the US District Court for the Southern District of New York where District Judge Chin said Google’s practice amounted to fair use.

In a summary judgment Chin said that Google, which only makes small portions of the books available to view, was creating a “highly transformative” scheme that adds value to the original and does not supersede or supplant books because it is not a tool used to read them.

But in its appeal the guild said the judgment was “deeply flawed” and relied on an “unprecedented, expansive and erroneous interpretation of the fair use doctrine”.

The guild also claims that the Google Books project was designed to lure potential book purchasers away from online retailers like Amazon.

“Google’s massive unauthorised digitisation campaign has acutely harmed the interests of the authors and other rights holders whose works have been copied,” the complaint said.

The guild is asking the court to vacate the district court’s judgment and reconsider the case.

“Plaintiffs-appellants respectfully request that the court vacate the judgment of the district court … and remand the case for consideration of a proper remedy that includes payment to authors for use of their works,” the complaint adds.

Google did not respond immediately to requests for comment. 

Authors Guild, Google Books, copyright infringement, fair use.

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