A lawsuit has been filed against Google Books with the Jerusalem District Court, with a request to recognize it as a class-action lawsuit. The petitioner, Yonatan Brauner, the author of "Things you see from there" (in Hebrew), claims that the project infringes authors' copyright "on the greatest scale in human history".
Brauner claims that Google continuously scans, collects, copies, and makes publicly available millions of books, thereby grossly and systematically infringing copyright without first obtaining the authors' consent. He said it was not yet possible to estimate the damage caused to authors because he lacks precise figures about the quantity of creations affected or the extent of the copyright infringement for each work, but he provisionally estimates the damage at "tens of millions of shekels or more".
Google Inc.'s (Nasdaq: GOOG) Google Books venture aims to put online hundreds of thousands of books worldwide in a digital database, which will include content and word search capacity.
Brauner claims, "However fantastical it may sound, Google, one of the world's largest and wealthiest corporations, is infringing the copyright of books like a thug, and knowingly uses the Google Books project, whose basic purpose is to present books without receiving permission from the copyright's owner or publisher, and without paying a penny for it."
The statement of claim says that, as of the date the lawsuit was filed, over 15 million books from over 100 countries in 400 languages had been scanned and stored. Thousands of books (and possibly tens or hundreds of thousands) of these books are in Hebrew, by Israeli authors, which were published in Israel and are protected by Israeli copyright law.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on April 10, 2011
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