According to the National Crime Prevention Council, Google finally won an 8-year long lawsuit against a host of authors who claim that Google Books, an online library, illegally scanned millions of books. Google Books was born in 2004 with the digitization of university libraries, such as Harvard and Oxford. The lawsuit began in 2005 after the Authors Guild claimed that Google should pay $750 dollars for every book uploaded to their freely available database. Given the size of the database, this amounted to roughly $3 billion dollars.
U.S. Circuit Judge Denny Chin ruled that Google Books constitutes fair use within copyright law because the books’ full text is not available. Instead, Google Books only permits reading “snippets” of a book. In a way, providing short samples entices readers to purchase the full book thereby increasing book sales.
A law professor at the University of Maryland stated that “it is also a good ruling for libraries and researches, because the opinion recognizes the public benefit from making books available.” Judge Chin believes that Google is making a concerted effort to maintain “respectful consideration” of authors’ rights while simultaneously promoting “significant public benefits.”
Furthermore, the ruling has implications for Google’s other sectors because the Authors Guild is not the only organization upset about the company’s mass digitization. Google Images has stirred unrest among artists and photographers. The professor continued, “This is a big win for Google, and it blesses other search results that Google displays, such as news or images.”
The Authors Guild is reasonably upset about the ruling and an appeal is in order. Authors Guild’s executive director said that “mass digitization and exploitation far exceeds the bounds of the fair use defense.” It appears to be unlikely that the appeal will fall in favor of the Authors Guild because, according to another law professor following the case, “As long as you are not substituting for content by showing readers all of it… you are legally in the clear.”
Robert G. Klein has aggressively handled business litigation cases in the Los Angeles area for over 25 years. He has in depth experience with the full spectrum of intellectual property law, from theft to copyright infringement. If another organization or individual copies your work, makes derivatives of your work or distributes your work, contact us. Robert G. Klein will stop the production of your copyrighted materials, prevent future infringement and deliver you the lost profits you deserve.
One of Robert G. Klein’s previous clients describes him as “personal-thorough-knowledgeable. Robert Klein’s detailed preparation, weeks ahead of our jury trial, gave us complete confidence.”
For additional information concerning intellectual property matters, visit our website. For a confidential consultation with one of our Los Angeles trademark infringement attorneys, call us at (323) 653-3900.
[Did You Know: Approximately 33.6 million copyrights have been issued since the inception of the U.S. Copyright office.]
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