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Judge says authors can sue Google

Today's ruling says content creators can take the company to task over Google Books' scanning book practices.

Donna Tam Staff Writer / News
Donna Tam covers Amazon and other fun stuff for CNET News. She is a San Francisco native who enjoys feasting, merrymaking, checking her Gmail and reading her Kindle.
Donna Tam

A judge filed a ruling today that gives authors, photographers, and illustrators the green light to sue Google.

The ruling allows the drawn-out court case -- over Google Books' practice of scanning book out of print and copyrighted content for Web searches -- to move forward. The suit will now determine if Google's argument that it has a fair-use defense has any merit.

In his ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Denny Chin, from the Southern District of New York, said the Authors Guild and another group has a right to pursue the suit on behalf of other authors.

Google had tried to argue that the Authors Guild and an illustrators and photographers' group should be taken off the suit. According to the suit, Google said a class action suit is not justified because many authors wanted their books scanned. The company points to a survey in which over 500 authors, or 58 percent of those surveyed, "approve" of Google scanning their work for search purposes.

"Google's argument is without merit," Chin wrote. "The lead plaintiffs are adequate representatives of the class."

Chin said the guild's copyright claims do not conflict with the copyright claims of the other class members, and that other authors who have had their books scanned can still join the suit.

Read the entire ruling, posted by the Public Index, here.