Google wants groups removed from Books lawsuits

Google told a judge that groups representing copyright holders can't seek relief for them

Google asked a federal court to dismiss copyright claims against its Google Books project by groups representing authors and photographers on Thursday, saying the groups could not sue over copyrights they did not own.

The motion was the latest development in a legal battle that has been raging since 2005, when The Authors Guild and the American Association of Publishers sued to block Google from scanning millions of books in libraries and making digitized content from them available in libraries and online. They charge that scanning the books without always seeking permission would violate copyrights. The American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) filed a similar lawsuit last year, which is being considered alongside the authors' case.

Google's motion seeks to remove The Authors Guild and the ASMP from the lawsuits. They don't have legal standing to sue over the copyrights because they aren't copyright holders but merely represent them, Google argued in its brief supporting the motion.

"The associations are not proper parties to this copyright infringement case because they themselves do not claim to own any copyright at issue," Google wrote in the brief to Judge Denny Chin of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Manhattan.

Google had told Judge Chin it planned to file motions for dismissal, and the judge had set Friday as a deadline. Google did not file a similar motion to dismiss the lawsuit by the Association of American Publishers. The company is believed to be closer to reaching a settlement with the plaintiffs in that case.

Google launched the library scanning project in 2004. One copyright settlement was already reached in 2008, but Judge Chin rejected that agreement in March.

The plaintiffs will have until Jan. 23 to respond to the motions filed Thursday, and Google will then have until Feb. 3 to respond to their opposition.

Stephen Lawson covers mobile, storage and networking technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Stephen on Twitter at @sdlawsonmedia. Stephen's e-mail address is stephen_lawson@idg.com

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