Feeds

Google SO CAN scan ALL BOOKS onto its sites - judge

Ad giant bags 'fair use' extracts win in copyright war with writers

Boost IT visibility and business value

Google has defeated writers who alleged the web giant broke the law when it put extracts from millions of books online for free.

The Authors Guild and groups representing photographers and graphic artists sued the advertising goliath, claiming the Google Books website was a massive breach of copyright. The service has scanned 30 million titles since 2004, and allows people to retrieve texts without anyone paying a dime to the authors.

Today, a US judge ruled that the digitizing project is covered by "fair use" protections against copyright claims, capping off a long-running legal battle over the legality of the archive operation that had threatened to shut it down.

"This has been a long road and we are absolutely delighted with today's judgment," the company said in a canned statement.

"As we have long said Google Books is in compliance with copyright law and acts like a card catalog for the digital age giving users the ability to find books to buy or borrow."

According to southern New York district court Judge Denny Chin, the Google Books project does not infringe copyright, and that it should be protected from further legal action.

The ruling marks a turning point in a legal war that has raged between Google and the publishing industry for eight years. Last October, the web giant settled with publishers in the US over similar claims.

"In my view, Google Books provides significant public benefits," Judge Chin said in his decision today.

"It advances the progress of the arts and sciences, while maintaining respectful consideration for the rights of authors and other creative individuals, and without adversely impacting the rights of copyright holders."

The judge upheld the arguments by Google that the project would fall under fair-use protections in the US. The company claimed that because the project only serves up digital excerpts, it should not be viewed as a competitor to stores selling printed books and e-books, which bring revenues for publishers and creators.

Judge Chin suggested that the Books project could even boost sales.

"A reasonable fact-finder could only find that Google Books enhances the sales of books to the benefit of copyright holders ... Indeed, both librarians and their patrons use Google Books to identify books to purchase," he declared.

With the matter over, for now, Google will now be able to have the complaint dismissed, and be allowed to continue its quest to assimilate the world's tomes – all 129,800,000 of them. ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.