Google has scored a win in the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals in New York preventing a group action against Google Inc, which has disappointed authors who wanted to prevent the search engine giant from developing its digital library.
The case was estimated to have potentially lead to $3 billion paid by Google if the case were lost.
The appeals court said that an earlier court decision to allow the authors to sue as a group was premature and failed to fully consider Google’s fair use defence, reports the Telegraph.
The case will now be returned to a lower court to consider the fair use issues, with Google claiming that US copyright law allows it to display snippets of books in its proposed digital library.
The case began back in 2005 after Google scanned more than 20 million books, with The Authors Guild then demanding $750 for each one.
Michael Boni, a lawyer representing The Authors Guild, said that the group was ‘disappointed’ but would now focus on litigation over the fair use claims.
The Telegraph reported:
Google, who partnered with major libraries such as the Harvard University library and the New York Public Library in 2004, has said making current and out-of-print works available in digital would help researchers and the public.
It has argued that authors, especially of obscure works, could benefit from the library, and that a case-by-case approach was needed to determine fair use.