Business briefs: Authors Guild asks U.S. court to rule against Google

April 12, 2014 

NEW YORK -- The Authors Guild says that Google Inc. is stealing business from retailers and has asked a New York federal appeals court to find that the Internet giant is violating copyright laws with its massive book digitization project.

The Guild filed papers with the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday. The Guild asked the appeals court to reinstate its lawsuit alleging that Google's effort to create the world's largest digital library was violating the rights of authors.

It said Google was driving potential book purchasers away from online book retailers, boosting its advertising revenues and stifling competition through its book project.

Google declined to comment on the Guild's effort to reverse a November ruling.

In November, a judge had ruled in favor of the Mountain View, Calif.-based company.

Judge allows Wal-Mart to send proxy statement

WILMINGTON -- A federal judge in Delaware says Wal-Mart can send its annual proxy statement to shareholders without a Manhattan church parish's proposal for a shareholder vote involving gun sales.

The judge noted Friday that Securities and Exchange Commission staff already had said Wal-Mart was not obligated to accept the parish's proposal. He said the parish was not likely to succeed in arguing that the SEC determination was erroneous.

The Episcopal parish that includes Trinity Church on Wall Street wanted shareholders to vote on whether the board of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. should oversee management policy decisions on whether to sell products considered especially dangerous, harmful to Wal-Mart's reputation, or offensive to community and family values.

The proposal was aimed particularly at sales of guns with magazines holding more than 10 rounds.

Wells Fargo first-quarter profit jumps 14 percent

California's banking giant, Wells Fargo & Co., reported 14 percent higher first quarter earnings, powering well beyond Wall Street's expectations as declining loan losses and operating cost cuts offset the slowdown in mortgages at America's largest home lender.

San Francisco-based Wells Fargo, the fourth-largest U.S. bank by assets, said it earned $5.89 billion, $1.05 per share. That compared to $5.17 billion, 92 cents a share, in last year's first quarter. Revenue declined 3 percent to $20.63 billion.

The consensus of financial analysts had been for per-share earnings of 97 cents on revenue of $20.6 billion, according to a Thomson-Reuters poll.

Higher interest rates have choked off a mortgage refinancing boom,

and rising home prices have raised questions about housing affordability in certain areas.

Because Wells Fargo is the biggest residential mortgage maker, its earnings are watched closely as indicators for the nation's housing markets. Wells Fargo said it originated $36 billion in new mortgages in its latest quarter, down from $109 billion a year earlier and $50 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Herald wire reports

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