Google should pay $750 a book, say authors in copyright case

NEW YORK Sat Aug 4, 2012 4:51am IST

A man walks through a tunnel of Google homepage logos at the Google campus near Venice Beach, in Los Angeles, California January 13, 2012. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

A man walks through a tunnel of Google homepage logos at the Google campus near Venice Beach, in Los Angeles, California January 13, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Lucy Nicholson

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Authors suing Google over the digitization of their books have asked a New York court to order the Internet company to pay $750 for each book it copied, distributed or displayed.

The authors' filing was lodged in federal court in the Southern District of New York last month, but was only made public on Friday. In the filing, the Authors Guild, whose president is novelist-lawyer Scott Thurow, urged the court to rule that Google's digitization project does not constitute "fair use" under copyright law.

A Google spokeswoman said in an emailed statement: "We believe Google Books constitutes fair use by allowing users to identify interesting books and find ways to borrow or buy those books, much like a card catalog for the digital age."

Litigation over Google's digitization project began seven years ago after Google began copying millions of books thanks to an agreement with libraries, including those at Harvard University, Oxford University and Stanford University.

Google has said it has scanned more than 20 million books since the agreement was made in 2004.

In March 2011, a federal judge rejected a $125 million settlement in the case. In May, the authors were granted class action status.

The named plaintiffs in the case include former New York Yankees baseball pitcher Jim Boulton, who wrote "Ball Four."

(Reporting by Rebecca Hamilton; editing by Andre Grenon)

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