Google should pay $750 a book, say authors in copyright case

NEW YORK Fri Aug 3, 2012 7:21pm EDT

A man walks through a tunnel of Google homepage logos at the Google campus near Venice Beach, in Los Angeles, California January 13, 2012. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

A man walks through a tunnel of Google homepage logos at the Google campus near Venice Beach, in Los Angeles, California January 13, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Lucy Nicholson

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Authors suing Google over the digitization of their books have asked a New York court to order the Internet company to pay $750 for each book it copied, distributed or displayed.

The authors' filing was lodged in federal court in the Southern District of New York last month, but was only made public on Friday. In the filing, the Authors Guild, whose president is novelist-lawyer Scott Thurow, urged the court to rule that Google's digitization project does not constitute "fair use" under copyright law.

A Google spokeswoman said in an emailed statement: "We believe Google Books constitutes fair use by allowing users to identify interesting books and find ways to borrow or buy those books, much like a card catalog for the digital age."

Litigation over Google's digitization project began seven years ago after Google began copying millions of books thanks to an agreement with libraries, including those at Harvard University, Oxford University and Stanford University.

Google has said it has scanned more than 20 million books since the agreement was made in 2004.

In March 2011, a federal judge rejected a $125 million settlement in the case. In May, the authors were granted class action status.

The named plaintiffs in the case include former New York Yankees baseball pitcher Jim Boulton, who wrote "Ball Four."

(Reporting by Rebecca Hamilton; editing by Andre Grenon)

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Comments (3)
mutt3003 wrote:
Ball four? That’s probably the number of people who actually read that book. Between Google and Amazon, a majority of these so-called authors should be paying them.

Aug 03, 2012 8:11pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
neahkahnie wrote:
1. Great job by Scott Thurlow. As a professional writer, I couldn’t agree more.
2. Google charges an inordinate amount of money either for pages of a book or for the book itself. Fair use, my foot. They are reaping millions.

Aug 03, 2012 9:19pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
rocque wrote:
I hope the final amount paid to the authors (all of the authors of the copied books, not just the plaintiffs) is in the billions, not millions.

Aug 03, 2012 12:22am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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