Judge Hands Google a Big Victory in Lengthy Book-Scanning Case
By Jennifer Howard
Google has won a major victory in the long legal fight over its scanning and searching of millions of books. A federal judge, Denny Chin, ruled on Thursday that Google’s use of copyrighted works in its Google Books program counts as fair use, and he dismissed a lawsuit originally brought by authors and publishers groups in 2005.
The publishers settled with Google in 2012, but the Authors Guild plaintiffs pressed ahead with their claims of copyright infringement.
Judge Chin’s opinion, delivered in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan, resoundingly supported Google on the question of fair use. While the company did not seek permission to scan copyrighted works, the judge wrote, the uses made of those scans are “highly transformative”—a key element in fair-use determinations.
A Google representative said the company was “absolutely delighted” by the ruling. The decision will also thrill fair-use advocates and many academic librarians and researchers, especially those who want to mine the vast Google Books corpus for research. But the Authors Guild said it would appeal. Read more.