The NWU is disappointed with the District Court decision dismissing the Google Books Settlement lawsuit brought by the Authors Guild against Google's unauthorized digitizing of entire libraries of copyrighted books.
We continue to believe that Google's practices violate writers' copyrights. These practices interfere with our ability to control and receive fair compensation for secondary uses of works included in the books that Google is scanning and using for its own purposes and profit.
Judge Chin found Google's mass digitization of the contents of several large libraries to be "fair use" of copyrighted works. Such broad interpretation extends the meaning of fair use beyond all previous boundaries.
In particular, Judge Chin considered only the impact of Google's practices on sales of books, and not the potentially more significant negative impact of Google's actions on the many other business models for content included in books that publishers deem "out of print" in their original editions.
As working writers who depend on our copyrights for our livelihoods, we can say with certainty that Judge Chin is mistaken in his belief that works included in books that are out-of-print in their original editions "have been forgotten in the bowels of libraries." The original publishers may have forgotten many "out-of-print" books, but entrepreneurial writers are generating increasingly significant revenues from new e-book editions, self-publishing, Web publishing and advertising, and licensing of rights to use content included in "out-of-print" books in electronic formats.
We welcome the announcement by the Authors Guild that it intends to appeal this decision.
National Writers Union Book Division
American Society of Journalists & Authors (ASJA)