Google Library Project Lawsuit Gets Closer to Trial

Posted on September 15, 2011

The Google Library Project scanning lawsuit had a status conference today with federal judge Denny Chin. The judge set important dates for upcoming hearings. Publisher's Weekly reports that settlement talks continue between Google and the many plaintiffs, which include the Authors Guild, Association of American Publishers and five other book publishers.

The judge said he wanted the case ready for trial by July, 2012. Attorneys for the AAP and for Google told the court that settlement talks are ongoing and that both sides are hopeful their differences can be worked out. The AAP released a statement saying, "Today, we informed the court that the Association of American Publishers, the five publisher plaintiffs and Google have made good progress toward a settlement that would resolve the pending litigation regarding the Google Library Project. We are working to resolve the differences that remain between the parties and reach terms that are mutually agreeable."

The Authors Guild attorney Michael Boni sounded less optimistic about a settlement that would make the authors happy. That could lead to a strange case in which the publishers settle with Google, but the Authors Guild presses on with the case.

Judge Chen ordered the plaintiffs to file their brief for class certification by December 12th. The response is due January 20th. Discovery must be finished by the end of March, 2012. Motions for summary judgment (which everyone is going to file no doubt) will be due by the middle of July.

PW says that the plaintiffs were very unhappy when Judge Chin said the case is about snippets of the books being used in the search engine. They corrected the judge, explaining that the case is about the unauthorized copying, scanning and storing of books. It's not a good sign for the Guild that the judge is so off base as to what the case is about.