Google, publishers shelve book-scanning suit

By Michael Liedtke

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, Oct. 4 2012 1:41 p.m. MDT

In an interview, Authors Guild lawyer Michael Boni said the publishers agreement made him "cautiously optimistic" that a settlement of his case could be reached before it goes to trial.

But he also stressed the authors' issues are much different than the publishers' concerns. "We're really on a separate motor at this point," Boni said.

Google, which is based in Mountain View, Calif., declined to comment Thursday on the legal dispute with the authors.

In May, U.S. District Judge Denny Chin in New York granted the authors' lawsuit class certification, meaning the case would cover all authors, even if they are too small to hire their own lawyers to sue Google. Chin also rejected Google's attempt to get the case thrown out.

The authors' suit is in a holding pattern until an appeals court rules on Google's attempt to strip the authors of their status as a united class.

One of the biggest sticking points in the authors' case revolves around the rights to millions of out-of-print books that are still protected by copyright but whose writers' whereabouts are unknown.

The prospect that Google could gain a digital monopoly on these so-called "orphan works" was one of the main reasons that the Justice Department and other objectors urged Chin to scotch the earlier $125 million settlement with publishers and authors. Chin rejected the agreement in 2010.

Google's stock increased $6.19, or nearly 1 percent, to $768.69 in afternoon trading Thursday.

AP writer Larry Neumeister in New York contributed to this story.

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