Tag Archives: authors guild

Fair use questions defeat class certification in Google Book Search case

Last year, the district court judge overseeing the Google Book Search case certified the plaintiff-authors as a class in the action the Authors Guild filed against Google in 2005. Google opposed the motion for class certification, and sought review of the issue with the Second Circuit. On appeal, the court vacated the class certification, holding that such certification was premature, given Google’s anticipated fair use arguments. The per curiam opinion provided that:

we believe that the resolution of Google’s fair use defense in the first instance will necessarily inform and perhaps moot our analysis of many class certification issues, including those regarding the commonality of plaintiffs’ injuries, the typicality of their claims, and the predominance of common questions of law or fact

Given that fair use is a fact-specific analysis, this decision seems sensible. And the decision gives Google a powerful new lever in settlement talks — litigation of the copyright claims on the merits just got a lot more expensive for the Authors Guild plaintiffs.

Authors Guild, Inc. v. Google Inc., — F.3d —, 2013 WL 3286232 (2nd Cir. July 1, 2013)

Google Book Search case settles

Three years after it was filed, much of that time existing in apparent dormancy, the copyright infringement case filed by the Authors Guild against Google Book Search (f/k/a Google Print) has settled. (Thanks to Greg Beck for alerting me to this via a post he put up on Twitter.)

Here is a page with all kinds of information about the settlement. It’s a complicated proposed agreement, so it will take some time to understand it. There is sure to be plenty of commentary from others in the blogosphere over the next day or so.

It’s good to see this resolved. Almost three years ago I was on a panel discussion at the John Marshall Law School talking about the fair use implications of the case. You can download the MP3 of that talk here.