The 2nd U.S Circuit Court of Appeals is currently scrutinizing whether a class suit action against Google Books project should be allowed or not. Google is appealing a lower court’s ruling allowing the plaintiffs, the Authors Guild and groups representing photographers and graphic designers, to pursue a class-action lawsuit against the company.
Google is contending that the project should be considered as a case of fair usage. The plaintiffs are, however, calling the project a case of massive copyright infringement.
Circuit Judge Barrington Parker acknowledged that the project could have “enormous value” for the American culture. Circuit Judge Pierre Leval, one of the three judges hearing the appeal, said that the project could benefit many authors, especially writers whose works are now obscure.
Two of the judges on the panel, Pierre Leval and Jose Cabranes, have commented that the case may have gotten ahead of itself. They have asked lawyers from both sides to clarify why the court shouldn’t ‘send the case back to the district court to rule on Google’s “fair use” defense first, then decide later on the class’s validity.’