After a so-far fruitless three-year effort to settle the case, Google and the plaintiffs suing it for alleged book-related copyright infringement apparently are moving away from seeking a friendly solution.
Google has notified the court that it intends to file a motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed against it by authors and publishers in 2005, in which they allege copyright infringement stemming from Google's wholesale scanning of millions of library books without the permission of copyright owners.
Google also told the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York that it will request as well the dismissal of a related case brought by photographers and illustrators in April 2010 objecting to the copying of their work as part of the library book scanning project.
Google stated its plan to seek the dismissals in a letter sent to Judge Denny Chin two weeks ago, and which the judge acknowledged receiving last week in a scheduling order he entered into the book-scanning case's docket.
In Chin's order, he states that Google requested a pre-motion conference prior to filing the requests for dismissal, but the judge responded that no such conference is necessary.
Instead, he set a deadline of Dec. 23 for Google to file the dismissal motions. The plaintiffs will have until Jan. 23 to respond to the motions, and Google will have to reply to the dismissal oppositions by Feb. 3, Chin wrote in the order.
Google and the plaintiffs -- which include the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers -- have been trying to settle the book-scanning case since 2008, when they hammered out a highly complex and controversial settlement agreement.
That agreement, which later went through a major revision, was nonetheless sharply criticized by many influential parties, including legal scholars, famous authors and publishers, and the U.S. Department of Justice, for their perception that it gave Google too much power over the scanned works and possibly violated copyright and antitrust laws.
In March, after reviewing it for more than a year, Judge Chin rejected the settlement proposal, saying in his decision that the agreement wasn't fair, adequate or reasonable. "While the digitization of books and the creation of a universal digital library would benefit many, the [proposed settlement] would simply go too far," he wrote then.
The settlement would have granted Google "significant rights to exploit entire books, without permission from copyright owners. Indeed, the [settlement] would grant Google a significant advantage over competitors, rewarding it for engaging in wholesale copying of copyrighted works without permission, while releasing claims well beyond those presented in the case," he added.
The rejected settlement agreement would have given way to an ambitious plan by Google to build a massive marketplace and library for digital books. That proposal called for Google to pay US$125 million and in exchange obtain from the plaintiffs rights to display longer portions of in-copyright books.
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