Sunday, January 03, 2016

Will SCOTUS Hear The Authors Guild?

Last week the Authors Guild filed a petition with the Supreme Court asking it to review an October decision by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Authors Guild v. Google, a case that began in 2005 as a result of Google’s wholesale copying of millions of copyright-protected works.

Please read the press release here.

The Authors Guild is encouraging authors to help raise the visibility of the petition and of the issue in general by promoting our press release and any positive media coverage. Additionally, the Authors' Guild put together a sequence of questions and answers highlighting why it’s so crucial for the future of authorship and copyright law that the high Court weigh in to redress the Second Circuit’s alleged misinterpretation of fair use. 

You can find it here.

Here are two examples of the important Q & As.

Why is the Authors Guild still pursuing this case against Google?Google copied 20 million books to create a massive and uniquely valuable database, all without asking for copyright permission or paying their authors a cent. It mines this vast natural language storehouse for various purposes, not least among them to improve the performance of its search and translation services. The problem is that before Google created Book Search, it digitized and made many digital copies of millions of copyrighted books, which the company never paid for. It never even bought a single book. That, in itself, was an act of theft. If you did it with a single book, you’d be infringing.

How complicated can it be for Google to ask an author permission to use her work?Exactly our point: the rights are eminently clearable. The court refused to acknowledge this point or take it into consideration. For example, our sister organization, the Authors Registry, as well as the Copyright Clearance Center, find authors for royalties from overseas uses with little difficulty or expense. And there are innumerable collective rights organizations around the world who do this all of the time—without much difficulty, and with much less money than Google.

Happy New Year!

Rowena Cherry

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