12-3200-cv UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SECOND CIRCUIT August Term, 2012 ( Argued On: May 8, 2013 Decided: July 1, 2013)
In a decision announced today, the Second Circuit decertified a class action suit brought by the Authors Guild, Inc. and told Judge Denny Chin to rule first on whether Google’s book scanning is fair use.
This is a victory for Google. The company has argued that the scanning of books has not hurt authors, but rather made long forgotten books available to a wider audience. They also claimed that allowing the suit to go forth as a class action forces authors who are happy about the scanning to join forces with those who are not.
This unanimous decision decertified the class action without prejudice. If Judge Chin decides that the scanning is not a Fair Use, then the class action suit could be reinstated. Complicating the issue is the fact that Judge Chin is now a member of the Second Circuit. You can read the entire court decision here. Docket No. 12-3200-cv
A parallel case brought against the Hathi Trust is also being heard by the Second Circuit. In that case the Authors Guild is appealing a lower court decision in which Judge Harold Baer ruled that the scanning of over 10 million books was FAIR USE. He stated “I cannot imagine a definition of fair use that would not encompass the transformative uses made by defendants’ [mass digitization project] and would require that I terminate this invaluable contribution to the progress of science and cultivation of the arts that at the same time effectuates the ideals espoused by the ADA [Americans with Disabilities Act],” Inside Higher Ed Read more here.
Genealogists have a lot at stake with these decisions. Many “genealogies” are caught in the limbo of copyright with no likelihood of republication. A workable solution with Google or the University of Michigan’s Hathi Trust could make digital copies available quickly at a reasonable cost.
To access digitized books see Hathi Trust and GoogleBooks
Are you looking for a good book on copyright law? I’ve set up a bookshelf on WorldCat with some of the newer books (post 2000) plus a few historic books for comparison of then and now. Did I miss anything important? Send a link to email@example.com and I’ll add it, if it is listed on WorldCat.
I’ve also started a Library Shelf of free e-books discussing copyright on Google Books. These books mainly date before 1900, thus giving an interesting perspective, very removed from the philosophy of many today.
Copyright – Free E-Books
Let me know if you’ve found an interesting tome that is missing from these lists, or if you have found another listing of copyright books that we could share a link to.
In the book Copyright Unbalanced: From Incentive to Excess (edited by Jerry Brito of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, 2012 ) the impressive list of contributors makes a case for reeling back the twentieth century extensions of copyright. They advocate for the consideration of the original intent of the creators of the constitution as we reinvent copyright law to meet the need of today’s digital world. They argue that this is “NOT” a liberal view, but rather the true conservative and libertarian position.
What does the constitution say about intellectual property? In Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8 (the Copyright Clause) the constitution empowers the United States Congress to “..promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.”
The book, which notes there is no precedent in “common law” for copyright protection, states that “What follows in this book is not a moral case for or against copyright; it is a pragmatic look at the excesses of the present copyright regime and of proposals to further expand it.” You can read the entire first chapter of the book on website of the Mercatus Center.
On the website you will find a link to purchase which sends you to Amazon.com. You can order a Kindle version or a paperback. The Kindle version which can be read in any web browser if you don’t have a Kindle is just $3.99. If you haven’t tried out the Kindle Cloud Reader it’s possible to download the book so you can read off line.