Google has filed a motion to dismiss the Authors Guild and the American Society of Media Photographers as plaintiffs in the Google Books copyright infringement claim.
The long running US Google books case emerged out of two separate law suits: one filed by the American Authors Guild (“the Authors Guild”) on behalf of authors and the other by the Association of American Publishers along with five separate publishers (for more details please see the April 2011 and October 2011 editions of Media Intelligence here and here).
In a scheduling order filed on 29 November 2011, Judge Denny Chin (“Judge Chin”) confirmed the court had received a letter from Google requesting a pre-motion conference in anticipation of filing a motion to dismiss both the Authors Guild suit and the related suit from graphic artists and photographers represented by The American Society of Media Photographers (“ASMP”). Google filed its motion to dismiss these parties on 22 December 2011, a day before the deadline set by Judge Chin, claiming that both the Authors Guild and the ASMP have failed to show that they have the standing to bring the copyright claims. Google argues that these associations are not copyright owners entitled to bring infringement proceedings, but merely representative bodies.
The Authors Guild and ASMP have until 23 January 2012 to file their responses and Google will then have until 3 February 2012 to respond in turn. If the motion to dismiss is granted, only individual copyright holders will be able to proceed as plaintiffs against Google. In the meantime, Google must also file its response to the recent motion for class certification filed by the Authors Guild on 12 December 2011. Google’s response to the motion for class certification is due in January, although the fate of the Author’s Guild case rests on the outcome of Google’s motion to dismiss.