Google is a number with lots of zeros. And if The Authors Guild has its way, the company famously named for that number will be paying a figure with plenty of zeros in damages for illegally copying books.
Publishers Weekly reports if the court grants the Authors Guild’s recent motion for summary judgment the minimum statutory damage award — $750 per infringement – on as many as four million books still under U.S. copyright could add up to more than $1 billion.
The Authors Guild and Google lately traded motions for summary judgment in the suit now almost seven years old. They spent three of those years pushing a settlement with authors and publishers that was ultimately rejected by the judge in March 2011. The judge’s ruling against the settlement did not need to address the copyright claims that the case is really about, but a Publishers Weekly analyst now expects the case to deliver a “precedent-setting fair use verdict.”
[Thanks to John Mansfield for the story.]
Thank goodness Google is very, very rich. I would hate to think that the righteous wrath of the Authors Guild might remove one of the most useful tools on the internet in order to distribute a $750 check to each of of its aggrieved authors. How long do you suppose it would take Steven King to spend $750, I wonder? He’s not known to be a profligate man, but I would imagine the money can’t mean much to him.
I’m assuming that’s where the over $1,000,000,000 would go — to the authors. Not to one helluva awards bash for the Author’s Guild next year. Or the president and officers of the Guild taking an all-expenses paid trip to the South of France to scout out bikini-clad young writers to sign up. It’s not easy to get away with that sort of peculation unless one is in the banking buisness.