8 years after Google starts to scan books, Author's Guild asks judge to shutter the program and let Congress decide

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8 years after Google starts to scan books, Author's Guild asks judge to shutter the program and let Congress decide

Sep 17 2013

In its final brief before oral arguments, the Authors Guild this week closed by imploring Judge Denny Chin to shoot down Google's book scanning program, and let Congress ask questions later.

"The fair use doctrine is not designed to address the enormity of Google's infringement," Authors Guild attorneys argue, calling the legality of the book scanning program "a cutting edge" technological issue best left to Congress to address. "Until Congress addresses these critically important issues, courts must defer to the choices already made by Congress," the brief argues, and Chin should reject "Google's unilateral and profit-driven effort to upset the established balance between copyright owners and users."

"The Authors Guild has an an uphill fight with the 'leave it to Congress' argument," observes James Girmmelmann, professor of law at the University of Maryland. "That's an argument in favor of the status quo, because it asks judges to step back and keep things as they are until Congress can make any needed changes. But eight years into the case, the Google Books program is the status quo. By not asking for a preliminary injunction, and by pursuing the settlement, and by litigating at a leisurely pace in general, the Guild has missed that opportunity."

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