Google’s so called ‘book scanning’ ruled lawful

It has been a court case that has lasted a staggering 10 years but finally a decision has been made. In short:

There is nothing wrong with Google having the ability to scan books and provide snippets of them, even if they do not own the copyright.

The issue was originally litigated about in 2005 where The Authors Guild sued Google. In counter claim Google argued that this procedure constituted ‘fair use.’ Fair use is actually a defence to a copyright claim which allows information to be used without permission providing it falls within a certain category (such as for use of criticism, research etc.)

As you would expect, The Authors Guild are not happy about the decision and there is talk about a further appeal (which can now only go to the US Supreme Court – the highest in the land.)

Some have expressed concern over the decision arguing that it makes for a monopoly in the area and leaves authors in a very precarious situation.

Whilst we have a decision and ruling, with talk of a further appeal, the real conclusion of this case could be far from over. Watch this space!

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