US court stays case against Google digital library plan

A US appeals court has granted a stay on a case filed by the Authors Guild against Google until it decides on a trial court judge’s May 31 ruling granting it class action status.The stay by a 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals judge in New York came after the Authors Guild, which sued Google seven years ago over the company’s plans to create the world’s largest digital books library, consented to the suspension.
The stay came just a month after trial court judge Denny Chin expressly denied a stay to Google, noting that the procedural issue would not affect the merits of the case, according to the Publishers Weekly.
Chin rejected Google’s argument that the complex copyright questions at the heart of the case, for thousands, potentially millions, of authors require individual assessments.
“Class action is the superior method for resolving this litigation,” Chin ruled, concluding that, potential fair use defences notwithstanding, “every potential class member’s claim arises out of Google’s uniform, widespread practice of copying entire books without permission of the copyright holder and displaying snippets of those books for search.”
Whether this wholesale scanning practice constitutes copyright infringement, he noted, can be assessed “without making individualized considerations.”

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