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Google Wins 8-Year Book-Scanning Battle (GalleyCat)
Google has won its controversial book scanning fight with the Author’s Guild. U.S. Circuit Judge Denny Chin ruled in favor of Google on Thursday claiming that Google’s massive book scanning project, in which the online giant scanned millions of books and made them available through search without obtaining the permission of the copyright holders, to be legal. According to Chin’s ruling, Google’s project makes life easier for research, makes it easier for libraries to obtain digital copies of books, brings old books to light and gives people who would not have access to books access. GigaOM Chin also rejected the theory that Google was depriving authors of income, noting that the company does not sell the scans or make whole copies of books available. He concluded, instead, that Google Books served to help readers discover new books and amounted to “new income from authors.” Reuters “This is a big win for Google, and it blesses other search results that Google displays, such as news or images,” said James Grimmelmann, a University of Maryland intellectual property law professor who has followed the case. “It is also a good ruling for libraries and researchers, because the opinion recognizes the public benefit of making books available,” he added. Wired / Threat Level If the ruling had gone the other way, Google would have faced the Copyright Act’s hefty damages of up to $150,000 per infringement. NYT Google began its book-scanning project in 2004, without obtaining permission from copyright holders. The next year, groups representing authors and publishers sued Google claiming copyright violations, beginning an eight-year court battle. The Author’s Guild “We disagree with and are disappointed by the court’s decision,” Authors Guild executive director Paul Aiken said. “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 world’s 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. We plan to appeal the decision.”