card catalogue r

On March 15 the Authors Guild filed with the Supreme Court the final brief the justices will see before deciding whether to review the Second Court’s decision in Authors Guild v. Google.

The brief, which you can read in full below, is the Authors Guild’s Reply to Google’s opposition to our original December 31 petition asking the court to hear the case.

“At the heart of this conflict,” our brief contends, “is a fundamental disagreement about how to apply the Copyright Act in the digital age, an issue [the Supreme Court] must resolve, as more and more content is digitized and becomes susceptible to mass infringement.”

In its opposition, Google had sought to minimize the scope and urgency of the dispute, characterizing Google Books as a simple online card catalog leading readers toward the books they seek.

But the card catalog comparison, the Guild brief maintains, is a red herring. The Second Circuit decision allowed as fair use not just Google Books’ indexing functions, but also Google’s original copying of 4 million copyrighted works, its copying and ingestion of those digital books for its own commercial purposes, and its delivery of separate digital books to libraries as payment for access to their collections.

The full briefing has now been forwarded to the justices, and they could decide whether or not to take the case as early as April.

 

Photo credit: Card Catalogue by Pete Birkinshaw under CC 2.0