Google’s digital library case delayed

In this Jan. 17, 2012 file photo, attendees at the National Retail Federation listen to a discussion about Google Wallet, in New York. The EU's antitrust watchdog has approved Google's $12.5 billion takeover of cell phone maker Motorola. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

NEW YORK — A federal appeals judge agreed Monday to delay a court challenge to Google Inc.’s plans to create the world’s largest digital library while an appeals panel considers whether authors should receive class status.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan issued its one-page after the matter was raised with Circuit Judge Raymond J. Lohier Jr. The case will be stalled while the court considers an appeal by Google. According to the order, both sides agreed to the stay of district court proceedings before Circuit Judge Denny Chin, who began hearing the case seven years ago before he was elevated to the 2nd Circuit.

Chin had granted class status in May, saying it was “more efficient and effective” for the authors to be considered as a class rather than suing individually. The Mountain View, Calif.-based Google asked to delay all proceedings pending its appeal. Chin had refused to do so, saying a stay could delay proceedings for a year or more.

Lawyers on both sides did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Google already has scanned more than 20 million books for the project. The Authors Guild has said it is impractical and expensive for each author to sue Google over similar claims and has asked for $750 in damages for each copyrighted book Google copied. It has said Google was not making “fair use” of copyrighted material by offering snippets of works in its online library.

Google has defended its library, saying it is fully compliant with copyright law.

The judge has supported the concept of a giant digital library but has said the conflict with authors could be resolved more easily if the company agreed to let them opt in to the project rather than requiring them to opt out if they don’t want to participate.

— Associated Press