| NEW YORK
NEW YORK May 3 Google Inc, in a
long-running legal dispute over its plans to create a digital
library of books, argued in court on Thursday that associations
of authors and photographers should not be allowed to sue the
company as a group.
Manhattan federal judge Denny Chin did not make an immediate
decision, but noted during oral arguments that "it would take
forever" to resolve cases brought by individual authors and it
"seems to make sense" to consider the lawsuits as a group.
The judge reserved decision on Google's motions to dismiss
the lawsuits by the Authors Guild and the American Society of
Media Photographers. They accused the search-engine giant of
copyright infringement when it signed contracts with libraries
for scanning, distributing and displaying about 20 million
Authors Guild lawyer Joanne Zack said Google was an
"intimidating defendant" for individuals. "This action does call
out for a mass litigation to adjudicate the mass digitization."
The litigation stems from a seven-year legal dispute over
Google's desire to create the world's largest digital library.
In March 2011, Chin rejected a settlement between Google, the
Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers Inc,
citing antitrust and copyright concerns.
He has urged that the pact be amended to include only books
whose copyright owners agree to the arrangement, rather than
require authors to "opt out."
The Authors Guild decided to litigate further and Google and
the publishers say they are still hopeful of reaching agreement,
perhaps sometime this year.
On Thursday, while Google lawyer Daralyn Durie was arguing
the company's case, Chin asked: "I guess it's hoping individual
authors won't come forward?" to which Durie responded that
Google was prepared to litigate three original individual
"We care institutionally about whether the law is being
applied correctly," Durie said. "The correct application is not
to certify a class."
Chin was elevated in 2010 to the federal appeals court in
New York but kept jurisdiction over the Google case, which he
began overseeing as a trial judge.
Amazon.com Inc, Microsoft Corp, some
academics and authors are among those who say the settlement
appeared to violate copyright and antitrust law. The U.S.
Justice Department's antitrust division has also opposed the
The cases are The Authors Guild et al v Google Inc in U.S.
District Court for the Southern District of New York 05-08136
and The American Society of Media Photographers Inc et al v
Google Inc No. 10-02977