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First off today, Daniel Fisher at Forbes reports that the U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear the Google Book Search case, granting a final victory to Google over the Authors Guild and several high-profile authors.
The case centers around Google’s Book Search tool, in which they scan and index millions of books for easy searching by users. The Authors Guild, along with the Publishers Guild, filed suit and the parties reached multiple class action settlements that were rejected by the courts. After the Publishers Guild reached a separate non-class action settlement, the Authors Guild fought on calling the service an infringement with Google claiming it was a fair use.
The lower court sided with Google, calling Google Book Search a transformative use that was permitted under the law. That decision was upheld by the appeals court, which prompted the Authors Guild to appeal to the Supreme Court. With the Supreme Court denying a hearing in the case, the Authors Guild is out of options for the case.
Next up today, Jacob Gershman at The Wall Street Journal reports that, weeks before a scheduled retrial, Google and Oracle have failed to reach a last-minute settlement in the battle over Google’s implementation of Java in its Android operating system and no further settlement negotiations are planned.
Oracle sued Google alleging that Google, when building its Android mobile operating systems, copied the Java APIs, which are instructions for apps to interact with the device and other applications. Google used the APIs to make Android more compatible with Java applications but claimed that the APIs were not copyrightable. However, at an initial trial, the jury ruled that APIs were copyrightable and that Google had infringed, but was deadlocked on the issue of whether the use was a fair use.
It was then a judge ruled that APIs were not copyrightable forcing Oracle to appeal the decision. The appeals court sided with Oracle and the Supreme Court declined to hear the case. That sent the case back to the district court for a retrial on the issue of fair use, which is scheduled for May now that a settlement is unlikely.
Finally today, Nick Wingfield at The New York times reports that Amazon is stepping up its push into the world of streaming by offering a monthly subscription to its Amazon Prime service in order to better compete with Netflix and Hulu, both of which have monthly subscriptions.
Currently, Amazon Prime is sold as a yearly subscription for $99. However, with the new plan Amazon will introduce a video-only service for $8.99 per month and a $10.99 plan for both streaming and the other Prime benefits, such as free two-day shipping.
The new monthly options will not help customers save money, costing significantly more than the annual option, but it may help it compete with Netflix and Hulu, both of whom have traditionally cost between $8 and $12 per month.
That’s it for the three count today. We will be back tomorrow with three more copyright links. If you have a link that you want to suggest a link for the column or have any proposals to make it better. Feel free to leave a comment or send me an email. I hope to hear from you.