Google Wins Longstanding Book Lawsuit

For eight years, Google has been dealing with a lawsuit in which book publishers complained that Google Books was infringing upon copyrights held by book publishers. Finally, a federal court has ruled that Google Books operates within the "fair use" section of the copyright law and is not breaking any laws.

Google Books is the largest book-scanning project on the Internet and according to Google, it was never going against the copyrights since it was not giving away books. Instead, the service provides a way for people to borrow or buy a book once Google has made a digital version of it.

A Public Service

Not only did Judge Denny Chin rule in Google's favor but he also concluded that Google Books "provides significant public benefits.EU The Authors Guild, which initiated the lawsuit eight years ago, was disappointed with the Judge's decision.

The group's executive director Paul Aiken stated, "We disagree with and are disappointed by the courtEUs decision today. This case presents a fundamental challenge to copyright that merits review by a higher court. Google made unauthorized digital editions of nearly all of the worldEUs valuable copyright-protected literature and profits from displaying those works. In our view, such mass digitization and exploitation far exceeds the bounds of fair use defense.EU

Many people were intrigued by the idea of Google Books when it was announced in 2004. The service would provide rare and out-of-print books to anyone on the Internet, something that most people find useful, as did Judge Chin.

Had the Authors Guild class-action lawsuit been successful, Google would have paid $750 per copyrighted book. Since Google has been able to grow Google Books into a collection of 20 million books, the payout would have been massive.

Overwhelming Victory

Despite the fact that Google has been involved with numerous lawsuits in the...

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