Google has been a focal point of recent intellectual property controversies relating to the mobile device market, but its next battle may stem from a dispute that began more than seven years ago. According to the Associated Press, U.S. Circuit Court Judge Denny Chin has refused any additional delays in a class-action lawsuit that charges Google with misappropriating copyrighted materials in its quest to develop the world's largest digital library.
The latest sticking point has been Google's insistence that authors objecting to its royalty management tactics should file suits independently, but Chin has now ruled in favor of class certification that may provide writers with strength in numbers.
The Authors Guild has been a staunch supporter of this decision, suggesting that a series of individual trials would be prohibitively expensive for the plaintiffs and exceedingly lengthy. According to the AP, the industry association has argued that Google was not making fair use of copyrighted material when picking and choosing excerpts for its online library and the class should be collectively awarded $750 in damages for each protected work that was scanned without permission by Google.
The speed of events has picked up considerably in the past year, according to paidContent, following Chin's dismissal of an elaborate settlement between Google, authors and the Guild. But before the next set of hearings in October, Google could receive renewed support following Chin's decision to allow scholars and librarians to file "friends of the court" briefs defending the academic merits of the digitization initiative.