As the still ongoing legal feud between Google and the Authors Guild has continued, Google is trying a new tactic: accurately asking the court why
the Authors Guild should be appointed as the representative of all
authors? Google pointed out that the Authors Guild -- somewhat notorious for its luddite view
of the world -- is trying to turn the lawsuit into a class action, but that most authors don't mind Google scanning their books
and making it easier for people to find them:
To prove this point, Google commissioned a survey of more than 800 authors about their opinions regarding the project. The majority of respondents, 58%, said they approved of Google scanning their books, while 28% were neutral and 14% objected. Almost three out of four respondents, 74%, said they don't believe that Google's scans would affect them financially, while 19% say they have or would benefit and 8% said they have or would be harmed.
Of course, the judge pointed out that there could be advantages
to having the Authors Guild declared as the stand-in for all authors. For example, if Google actually wins
, then that would make life easier for Google. However, Google's lawyer responded that the company wants the right result, not the most expedient.
“Wouldn’t Google be delighted that this is a class action if I find it’s fair use?,” Judge Chin asked Thursday.
“No,” Ms. Durie said. “We care institutionally whether the law is being applied correctly. The correct application is not to certify a class.”
Of course, the Authors Guild has a rather different take
on all of this, insisting that "millions of authors" have been harmed by Google helping people find their books. I'm not quite sure how that makes much sense, but it appears that if the Authors Guild had its way, libraries would pay extra to build card catalogs, since, you know, that's making use of the works without a license.