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Google urges dismissal of book scanning lawsuit

Google [corporate website; JURIST news archive] called Friday for the dismissal of a class action lawsuit accusing the company of infringing upon authors' copyrighted works when it scanned books for its digital library. In a filing with the US District Court for the Southern District of New York [official website], Google argued [Reuters report] that the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, the Authors Guild [official website] did not suffer economic harm as a result of Google scanning and displaying authors' work online. This is the latest development in the case Authors Guild v. Google Inc [case materials], which has been ongoing for seven years. In June, Judge Denny Chin of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York allowed the Authors Guild suit against Google to proceed as a class action [JURIST report]. In March of last year Chin rejected an amended class action settlement agreement that was reached in 2008 [JURIST reports] between Google and the Authors Guild. The settlement agreement stated that Google would pay $125 million to the authors and publishers of copyrighted works in exchange for the permission to display up to 20 percent of the work online.

Google has faced several lawsuits recently. Earlier in July, Google offered to settle antitrust claims [JURIST report] with the European Competition Commission [official website]. In June the company reached a settlement [JURIST report] with a group of French authors to end a lawsuit challenging its book-scanning initiative [Google Books search website], which displayed scanned images of select pages of books. A few days earlier, the Supreme Court of Switzerland [official website, in German] ruled [JURIST report] partially for Google in a case over privacy violations through its Street View service, holding that the company is not compelled to completely blur all faces and license plates but should do so manually if someone files a complaint. In March of last year, a Berlin high court ruled [JURIST report] for Google holding that the company's controversial service is legal in Germany. On the other side, the French National Commission of Information Technology and Liberty (CNIL) [official website, in French] fined [JURIST report] Google 100,000 euros (USD $141,300) for violating the country's data privacy laws.

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