UPDATE (May 4, 2011): New York Law School professor and noted GBS expert, James Grimmelmann has posted an in-depth summary along with some commentary about Thursday’s GBS hearing on The Laboratorium (his blog).
Google Inc. presented Judge Denny Chin with an interesting argument Thursday as it sought to dismiss a long-running lawsuit over the electronic scanning of some 20 million books available in public and university libraries.
The search-engine provider said the Authors Guild, an association of writers, shouldn’t be able to pursue copyright infringement claims on behalf of its members, but instead the individual authors must participate.
A group representing authors in a copyright case slammed Google in court on Thursday, saying the company’s book-scanning project has hurt millions of authors whose works have been digitized.
There is no fair-use issue at stake in the case, said Joanne Zack, a lawyer at Boni and Zack, representing The Authors Guild, when arguing about the class-action motion in court on Thursday.
“Google engaged in a campaign that affected millions of authors,” Zack said.
Calling Google “intimidating,” Zack also said that asking individual authors to individually litigate Google is unfair. She said a class-action status is a fair procedural route and economical way to represent the rights of the authors.
Although negotiations appeared to have broken down with the authors, they were still proceeding with publishers and the photographers. Attorney James McGuire said outside court on behalf of the photographers: “We talk, but I wouldn’t characterize them as serious.”