November 14, 2013

An Unexpected Decision [6:36 pm]

Bound to be appealed: Google Books Lawsuit Defeated: Book Scanning Deemed ‘Fair Use’ - see The Authors Guild , et al. v. Google (US District Court, Southern District of New York):

CHIN, Circuit Judge

Since 2004, when it announced agreements with several major research libraries to digitally copy books in their collections, defendant Google Inc. (”Google”) has scanned more than twenty million books. It has delivered digital copies to participating libraries, created an electronic database of books, and made text available for online searching through the use of “snippets.” Many of the books scanned by Google, however, were under copyright, and Google did not obtain permission from the copyright holders for these usages of their copyrighted works. As a consequence, in 2005, plaintiffs brought this class action charging Google with copyright infringement.

Before the Court are the parties’ cross-motions for summary judgment with respect to Google’s defense of fair use under § 107 of the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 107. For the reasons set forth below, Goggle’s motion for summary judgment is granted and plaintiffs’ motion for partial summary judgment is
denied. Accordingly, judgment will be entered in favor of Google dismissing the case.

See also Judge Sides With Google on Book Scanning Suit

James Grimmelmann, a professor of law at the University of Maryland who has followed the case closely, called the ruling “a win for Google and a big win for libraries and researchers.”

The judge “argues that authors didn’t lose much because it’s not like they were losing sales to Google Books,” Mr. Grimmelmann said. “The Authors Guild, on the other hand, loses a lot of face from this.”

[…] “By taking eight years from the lawsuit to resolve this, book scanning has gone from an exciting novelty to part of the background of the industry,” he said. “This has been going on for so long that it’s just part of the business now. And you’re seeing how many exciting new uses that can come out of it.”

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