Google versus writers back in court

Google is starting to fight back against a class action being brought by thousands of authors claiming the search engine outfit copied their works without permission.

The class action started after Google attempted to build the world’s largest digital book library.

According to Reuters, the case has been dragging on for seven years and recently a US judge rejected a sweeping $125 million settlement of the case. Judge Denny Chin had said the settlement went too far because it gave Google a “de facto monopoly” to copy books en masse without permission and served to “further entrench” its market power in online searches.

Google has scanned more than 20 million books, and posted English-language snippets of more than 4 million.

The snippets were supposed to comply with copyright laws governing fair use, but the Authors Guild and groups representing photographers and graphic artists complained that it amounted to “massive copyright infringement.”

Now Google is striking back saying that the authors have shown no economic harm from its scanning and display of their works and the creation of a searchable index to find them.

It also went on a hard sell of its services saying that authors actually benefit because the database helps people find and buy their books, and that there is a “significant public benefit” from providing access to information that might otherwise not be found.

The Authors Guild wants the court to grant summary augment in its favour.