Appeals Court’s Ruling Helps Google in Book-Scanning Lawsuit

Google scored a victory in the long-running lawsuit over its book-scanning project on Monday, as a federal appeals court ruled that it was “premature” that the authors suing Google had been certified as a class.
In May 2012, Judge Denny Chin of Federal District Court in Manhattan ruled that the authors could sue as a group, saying that class action was “the superior method for resolving this litigation.”
“Requiring this case to be litigated on an individual basis would risk disparate results in nearly identical suits and exponentially increase the cost of litigation,” he wrote.
In a five-page ruling on Monday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit rejected that decision and said that the lower court must first consider the “fair use” issues raised by the case.
“On the particular facts of this case, we conclude that class certification was premature in the absence of a determination by the district court of the merits of Google’s ‘fair use’ defense,” the panel of judges said.
The case began in 2005, when the Authors Guild sued Google over its book-scanning project, saying that the widespread scanning violated copyright. A $125 million legal settlement was reached between the parties, but Judge Chin rejected it in 2011.
Matt Kallman, a spokesman for Google, said in an e-mail: “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.”
The Authors Guild did not respond to a request for comment.
 
By Julie Bosman
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