A federal judge in New York has given the go-ahead for thousands of authors to bring a class action lawsuit against Google over the company's scanning of copyrighted books. Judge Denny Chin denied Google its motion to remove the Authors Guild and other groups from the case, saying that a class action would be "more efficient and effective" than forcing authors to sue individually.

Requiring this case to be litigated on an individual basis would risk disparate results in nearly identical suits and exponentially increase the cost of litigation. Class action, by contrast, would achieve economies of time and effort, resolving common legal and factual issues "without sacrificing procedural fairness or bringing about other undesirable results."

While the decision doesn't change Google's position on the legality of its book-scanning project, the Authors Guild has heralded it as a key moment in the long-running case. If Google's likely defense on the grounds of fair use doesn't hold up in the class action suit, the company could face infringement penalties on up to 12 million scanned works.