Google Points Out That What The Authors Guild Wants And What Authors Want Are Two Very Different Things

from the seems-relevant dept

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.
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Filed Under: authors guild, book scanning, class action, fair use, publishing
Companies: authors guild, google


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 May 2012 @ 5:51am

    Re: Re: Re: Rental

    That's a lost sale right there, if the user had not been able to preview the book first, obviously they would have just purchased the book, started reading it before deciding it wasn't for them, and tossed it into their recycle (donate to local library) stack and moved on... but the publisher would have got the sale..

    Wait a minute. If they donate the book to the library, that's a lost sale, too, because the library otherwise would have bought one. Maybe the library will put it in their bargain rack for a quarter, but that's another lost sale because otherwise someone would have had to pay full price. Maybe that purchaser will trade it in at a used bookstore where it will be sold to someone else. Another lost sale! That's three lost sales just because someone didn't like the book.

    If you don't like a book you should be required to destroy it. It's just wrong for the author's hard work to be expropriated for the profit of another. Book shredding companies will spring up to meet the demand. This would generate economic activity that provides good paying jobs. The traffic will also allow the postal service to keep volume up and prices low. Everyone wins!

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