You may recall the backlash against Google over its book digitizing efforts, which many say is copyright infringement and it all eventually leading into a legal battle that has been ongoing for years. Back in 2011, for example, a District Court in NY rejected Google’s settlement with the ASA and Author’s Guild, and last summer Google moved to have the lawsuit dismissed. Now a court of appeals is considering whether a class-action lawsuit is warranted.
The matter at stake is whether the plaintiffs in the lawsuit are allowed to go through with a class-action lawsuit against Google, something that could result in billions of dollars in damages – over $3 billion, according to some estimates. As such, it isn’t surprising that Google appealed when one court ruled that a class-action lawsuit was permissible, and now the case has moved up to a higher court.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is now handling the issue, and seems to be leaning away from a class-action lawsuit, which would leave those who feel their copyrights have been infringed upon to sue Google on their own. This would result in substantially less damages being paid out, especially considering that many of those who would go after Google are small-time authors not in a position to initiate a lawsuit.
According to Reuters, one of the panel judges said the digitization efforts hold “enormous value for our culture.” Others have mentioned the notion of returning the case to the district court, having it give a ruling on Google’s claim of fair use. We’ll have to wait and see how it all plays out, but presently the plaintiffs are seeking $750 in damages per book Google copied.