Google’s legal battle in support of their efforts to scan books and make them available through their Google Bookstore has been going on for years.
News about the conflict has been scarce of late while Google and the association of authors and publishers have tried to work out a settlement agreement.
The parties did come to an agreement back in 2008 that would have worked to their mutual advantage, but backlash against it convinced the judge presiding over the case to reject the settlement.
The latest development is a strong one; Google is now moving to have the Authors Guild removed from theÂ proceedingsÂ on the grounds copyright infringement suits must be filed by the copyright holders. This should sound familiar to anyone who kept an eye on the trials and tribulations of Righthaven, the copyright troll who brought nothing but misery upon themselves in trying to bring infringement suits against various bloggers and websites when they didn’t own the copyright to the material they were suing over.
I have a personal sort of fascination with this case and have been keeping an eye on it since the story started up years ago. It has lately become even more important to me, as I’ve shifted my focus more and more towards writing full time myself.
My approach to copyright is vastly different than the one taken by the Authors Guild and individual artists suing Google. I’m a believer in the path taken by Cory Doctorow and Scott Sigler among others, that if you freely give your work away, it amounts to the best advertising you don’t have to buy and will, somewhat ironically, increase sales.
The Author’s Guild and individual artists are in a very different position than writers like I am in; they have something to lose. They’re invested in the old publishing and distribution model, and so they feel, rightly or wrongly, that Google’s scanning ways are a threat. It’ll be interesting to see how this all shakes out; Google is likely to make fair use claims before the end of the year, or early in 2013.
(via Ars Technica)