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Judge rules in favor of Google over book scanning project

Colorado readers may be interested in the result of a lawsuit between Google and a group of book authors and publishers over the scanning of millions of books. Though the court found for Google, an appeal of the decision is expected.

On Nov. 14, a New York circuit court judge handed down the decision. The Authors Guild had sued Google in 2005 over its Google Books project, which involved the scanning of over 20 million books by the Internet search giant. Parts of the books were displayed online with information on where to acquire the entire book. The Authors Guild claims that Google is making unauthorized copies of the books and profiting from displaying the books on its site. Google responded by alleging that its scanning and displaying of books is "fair use" under U.S. copyright law.

In his decision, the circuit court judge found in favor of Google, agreeing with its argument that the use of the scans was fair. The judge held that the use was sufficiently "transformative" and significantly benefits the public. Additionally, the judge noted that the scanning project would likely increase the market for the books rather than take away from potential sales. The Authors Guild plans to appeal the ruling and believes that Google has overstepped the limits of fair use.

A finding of fair use requires a careful analysis. Because of the fact-specific nature, intellectual property matters can be complicated and can result in lengthy and expensive litigation in the case of a dispute. The help of an attorney may be useful in reaching a satisfactory resolution.

Source: Reuters , "Google defeats authors in U.S. book-scanning lawsuit", Jonathan Stempel, November 14, 2013

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