Judge rules in Google’s favor in 8-year library book scanning case | VentureBeat
Dec. 4 - 5, 2013
Redwood City, CATickets on Sale Now
Google’s “Google Books” program does not violate copyright laws, according to a U.S. district court judge’s ruling issued today.
Launched in 2004, the Google Books program attempted to SSD VPS scan and catalog printed books to make them searchable on the web. It also allowed people to view pages of those books if they were out of print or had proper permission from the copyright holder. Many big publishers took issue with the program and industry group the Author’s Guild took Google court over the matter. They initially claimed that Google Books program took money out of the pockets of authors, discouraged book sales on sites like Amazon, and more.
In today’s ruling, New York U.S. Circuit Judge Denny Chin said Google’s scanning of printed books fell within fair usage because it was “highly transformative.” He also said that Google Books program didn’t hurt the market for authors and publishers selling original work.
And that’s not all he had to say about the program either. Chin went on to call Google Books as a valid research tool, and praised it for preserving old physical books that would be lost to decay as well as making the books accessible to the blind.
The ruling is refreshing because it shows that big media industry players don’t get a free pass when it comes to copyrighted work. It seems fairly obvious that Google isn’t providing the service solely as a means of profiting. Of course it probably will generate some revenue from Google Books — with people purchasing some of those books via Google’s online store as well as using Google’s search engine — but in the eyes of the courts, its status as a beneficial public service comes first.