Authors guild says "one big step closer to justice"

Google

(CNET) The Authors Guild is ready to take on Google Books after its book-scanning lawsuit "cleared a major hurdle," Authors Guild President Scott Turow wrote in a blog post published today.

"We're one big step closer to justice being done for U.S. authors," Turow wrote.

U.S. District Court Judge Denny Chin yesterday gave the guild the green light to sue Google as a class of authors, allowing the organization to represent in the suit other writers and their heirs with a copyright interest in books that were scanned by Google as part of their Library Project. The drawn-out lawsuit will now decide whether Google's claim of fair use will defend the company of copyright infringement charges.

Chin is scheduled to hear summary judgment motions on the case in September.

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Google has scanned 12 million books in that project. If Google is found liable for infringement, copyright law prescribes statutory damages for willful infringement of not less than $750 and not more than $30,000 per work, according to Turow's post.

The case has been a messy one, halting at a standstill last year when Chin overturned a $125 million settlement between the two parties. The DOJ had expressed concern that the settlement could give the company anticompetitive advantages in the digital book marketplace.

Originally the Authors Guild said it wanted to settle rather than head for a court battle because it didn't want to repeat the well-publicized mistakes that the music industry made while policing digital piracy.

Update, 11:56 a.m. PT: Updated with more background on the suit.

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    Donna Tam is a staff writer for CNET News and a native of San Francisco. She enjoys feasting, merrymaking, checking her Gmail, and reading on her Kindle. Before landing at CNET, she wrote for daily newspapers, including the Oakland Tribune, The Spokesman-Review, and the Eureka Times-Standard.

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