Andrew AlbaneseWaiting for the copyright trial of the century? Well, you could be waiting a while. The Google Books case, first brought by the Authors Guild in 2005, had once received that billing. But court observers today expect the lawsuit will end soon – and without an awful lot of hoopla.

“The case does appear to be winding down, and with a whimper, rather than a bang,” notes Andrew AlbanesePublishers Weekly senior writer. “Summary judgment motions on fair use were over in Judge Denny Chin’s courtroom in less than 40 minutes. Of course, after eight years and a failed settlement, it’s no surprise that the court was well aware of the issues and that a longer argument was not needed.”

As Albanese tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally, legal pundits largely expect Chin will find for Google, but that hardly makes him an “activist judge” as others have charged. “Chin is perhaps as skeptical a judge as you’ll find on the bench of Google’s scanning program,” he says. “In fact, Chin is pretty sympathetic to copyright owners. That he appears to be leaning toward finding fair use, I think, speaks to the strength of the Google’s fair use case.”

Every Friday, CCC’s “Beyond the Book” speaks with the editors and reporters of “Publishers Weekly” for an early look at the news that publishers, editors, authors, agents and librarians will be talking about when they return to work on Monday.

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