Google Wins Reversal of Class Status in Authors’ Lawsuit - Bloomberg
Google Inc. (GOOG) won the reversal of a court order allowing authors to sue as a group in a $3 billion lawsuit alleging the technology company violated copyrights with its project to digitize millions of books.
The trial judge should have considered whether the fair-use defense would apply to Google’s project, a federal appeals court in Manhattan ruled today. That doctrine allows the use of copyrighted materials without permission for educational, research and news purposes.
“Class certification was premature in the absence of a determination by the district court of the merits of Google’s fair-use defense,” the appeals panel said in its ruling.
The Authors Guild, which represents writers, and individual authors sued in 2005, alleging that Google, owner of the world’s most popular search engine, infringed copyrights by scanning and indexing more than 20 million books without writers’ permission. Google’s legal defense relies on the fair-use doctrine.