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Authors Guild v. Google, Inc.

United States District Court for the Southern District of New York

May 31, 2012, Decided; May 31, 2012, Filed

05 Civ. 8136 (DC); 10 Civ. 2977 (DC)

Opinion

 [***1917]   [*386] CHIN, Circuit Judge:

Before the Court are two motions. First, defendant Google, Inc. ("Google") moves to dismiss the claims of the associational plaintiffs in both of these cases.1 Second, the three representative plaintiffs in the Authors Guild action -- Betty Miles, Joseph Goulden, and Jim Bouton (the "AG Representative Plaintiffs") -- move for class certification. For the reasons stated below, Google's motions to dismiss the claims of the associational plaintiffs are denied, and the motion for class certification in the Authors Guild case is granted.

BACKGROUND

A. The Library Project

The following facts are not in dispute. In 2004, Google announced that it had entered into agreements with several major research libraries to digitally copy books and other writings in their collections (the "Library Project"). Since then, Google has scanned more than 12 million books. (See Zack Decl. Ex. 7 at 3). It has delivered digital copies to the participating libraries, created an electronic database of books, and made text available for online searching. See Authors Guild v. Google, 770 F. Supp. 2d 666, 670 (S.D.N.Y. 2011) (citing Emily Anne Proskine, Google's Technicolor Dreamcoat: A Copyright Analysis of the Google Book Search Library Project, 21 Berkeley Tech. L.J. 213, 220-21 (2006) (describing project)). Google users can search its "digital library" and view excerpts -- "snippets" -- from books containing search results. Id. (See also Zack Decl. Ex. 7 at 3). For example,  [**11] when a user enters a search term on the Google Books website, Google displays a list of books containing that term. In many cases, when the user clicks on the link to a particular book, Google displays up to three "snippets" of text from that book -- each about an eighth of a page --  [*387] each of which contains the search term. (See Gratz Decl. Ex. 1; Zack Decl. Exs. 7, 10-12).

Millions of the books scanned by Google were still under copyright, and Google did not obtain copyright permission to scan the books. Authors Guild, 770 F. Supp. 2d at 670 & n.3 .

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282 F.R.D. 384 *; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 76080 **; 102 U.S.P.Q.2D (BNA) 1916 ***; 82 Fed. R. Serv. 3d (Callaghan) 712; Copy. L. Rep. (CCH) P30,265; 2012 WL 1951790

THE AUTHORS GUILD et al., Plaintiffs, - against - GOOGLE, INC., Defendant.AMERICAN SOCIETY OF MEDIA PHOTOGRAPHERS et al., Plaintiffs, - against - GOOGLE, INC., Defendant.

Subsequent History: Vacated by, Remanded by Authors Guild v. Google Inc., 721 F.3d 132, 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 13389 (2d Cir., July 1, 2013)

Prior History: Authors Guild v. Google Inc., 770 F. Supp. 2d 666, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29126 (S.D.N.Y., 2011)

CORE TERMS

Google, Authors, class member, class certification, class action, copying, prong, association members, injunctive, commonality, snippets, representative plaintiff, copyright infringement, individual member, predominate, parties, motion to dismiss, displaying, ownership, quotation, damages, holders, marks, proposed settlement, fair use, individualized, infringement, fair-use, litigate, scanned