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July 2, 2013

Google wins reversal of court order in digital books lawsuit

The Authors Guild filed a lawsuit against Google over the company's plans unveiled in 2004 to create a digital library.

By CBR Staff Writer

An appeals court in the US has reversed an earlier order which allowed the Authors Guild to sue Google as a group against its digital library project by demanding for $3bn in damages.

The Authors Guild, which represents a group of authors, filed a lawsuit against Google over the company’s plans unveiled in 2004 to create a digital library by scanning books to provide snippets of text online to internet users.

In its lawsuit, the Authors Guild alleged that Google has scanned 12 million books for its proposed digital library, the majority of which are believed to be protected by copyright, without seeking permission from the authors concerned.

In the latest ruling, the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals in New York ruled that the lawsuit was improperly filed as a class-action suit without considering fair use issues.

The court returned the suit to the lower court, which will now hear Google’s arguments and consider the fair use issues again.

Google spokesman Matt Kallman was quoted by Bloomberg as saying that: "We are delighted by the court’s decision. The investment we have made in Google Books benefits readers and writers alike, helping unlock the great pool of knowledge contained in millions of books."

Earlier this year, a US federal appeals panel in Manhattan supported Google’s plan to create the world’s largest digital library, saying that the project may benefit a number of authors.

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Last year, Google settled its book scanning dispute with the Association of American Publishers (AAP).

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