The Authors Guild asked a federal appeals court on April 11th to reinstate its lawsuit contending that the Internet giant is violating copyright laws with its massive book digitisation project. According to the Guild, Google Inc. is stealing business from online book retailers.
The Guild filed papers with the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan, saying that Google's effort to create the world's largest digital library was violating the rights of authors and stifling competition in the busy Internet book sales market.
Google declined to comment on the Authors Guild's effort to reverse a November ruling in favour of the Mountain View, Calif.-based company.
The Guild has asked the court to hold Google liable and to return the case to the lower court for remedies. Its lawsuit has sought $750 for each of the more than 20 million copyright books that Google has already copied.
In appeals arguments, Guild lawyers argued Google was also unfairly boosting its advertising revenues and stifling competition.
Further, the Guild's lawyers said that Google shocked the literary community in December 2004 when it launched its library project by partnering with some of the world's largest libraries "to gain free access to millions of copyright-protected books."
"Google emptied the shelves of libraries and delivered truckloads of printed books to scanning centers, where the books were converted into digital format," the Guild's lawyers said. They wrote that the library project was designed to lure potential book purchasers away from online retailers like Amazon.com and drive them to Google.
Judge Denny Chin however concluded Google did not run afoul of copyright laws because it only shows snippets from the books in its database. He said it would be difficult for anyone to read any of the works in their entirety by repeatedly entering different search requests.
He also said the company's library project provided a "transformative purpose" by giving new life to out-of-print and old books that had been forgotten.