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Court Blocks Authors’ Class Certification in Google Book-Scanning Case

A federal appeals court on Monday blocked a judge’s decision that had certified a group of authors as a class in the Authors Guild’s long-running lawsuit over Google’s efforts to scan books and make parts of them available online.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit said in its ruling on Monday that the judge’s decision last summer to certify the class was “premature.” A unanimous three-judge panel of the appeals court said that the lower court must first consider Google’s assertion that its efforts constituted fair use of the material.

In 2011 the judge in the case rejected a proposed settlement between Google, the Authors Guild, and publishers, saying the agreement overreached. Last fall the publishers reached a private settlement with Google that did not affect the authors’ case.

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