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Second Circuit suspends Google books case pending appeal of class action status

The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit [official website] on Monday suspended litigation between the Authors Guild [advocacy website] and Google [corporate website] pending an appeal of a May ruling allowing a class action lawsuit [JURIST reports] over Google's book-scanning initiative [website]. The court's order [Reuters report] will halt the Guild's seven-year attempt to block Google from creating the world's largest library of digital books. The Second Circuit has not yet scheduled an argument date for the appeal, and both the Guild and Google have yet to comment on the ruling.

Both sides have tried to resolve the dispute without litigation, but their settlement agreement was rejected [JURIST report] by Circuit Judge Denny Chin in March 2011. The agreement was reached in 2008 between Google and plaintiffs including the Guild, who brought the copyright suit [JURIST reports] in 2005. The 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. The court reasoned that the settlement agreement would allow Google too much freedom to exploit copyrighted works in the future. Chin's ruling came a month after he had delayed his decision [JURIST report] because he was not ready.

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