Google Book Scanning Case Dismissal Being Appealed
The Authors Guild is appealing a November 2013 court decision that dismissed its claims against Google for scanning and distributing the published works of authors online without paying for the content.Google is back in the legal crosshairs of the Authors Guild over its practice of scanning books so that their content can be searched online. In a 67-page legal brief, the Guild has appealed a U.S. District Court decision from November 2013, when a judge dismissed the Guild's claims against Google and halted a legal battle that had begun in 2005. In its appeal, filed on April 11, the Guild argues that Google began and accelerated its practice of scanning the books to battle and overwhelm online competitors such as Amazon.com, which in 2003 reached agreements with myriad publishers to display partial texts of published works. The Amazon scans and resulting online displays of text from the books were meant to entice buyers to purchase the books being cited, the appeal contends. "Amazon's Search Inside the Book program threatened Google's dominance as the place people go to find information," the appeal states. "But Google found a way to beat the competition by scanning copyright-protected books without permission from rights holders. This way, it would avoid having to negotiate with publishers and authors—as Amazon did— about critical issues such as the extent of permitted text display, the security of the books and reasonable compensation."
Soon after, in December 2004, "Google struck back, shocking the literary community by launching its unprecedented 'Library Project,' through which Google partnered with some of the world's largest libraries to gain free access to millions of copyright-protected books," the appeal states. "Google emptied the shelves of libraries and delivered truckloads of printed books to scanning centers, where the books were converted into digital format. The resulting e-books were then copied onto Google's servers and ingested into its search engine. Google was savvy enough not to pay the libraries in cash for the incredible commercial advantage it gained from these books. Instead, it provided the libraries with e-books worth millions of dollars as payment for their participation in the Library Project."