Google Books wins over the Authors' Guild

After almost a decade of litigation, Google scored a victory last week over the Authors' Guild, which had sued the Company for copyright infringement over its Google Books search engine.

In the last years Google has scanned more than 20 million books provided by libraries, stored them on its servers and made their full text searchable through the web, even if with some use limitations. Google had in fact scanned millions of copies, never seeking the owners' permission, with the intent to create a public domain on-line library.

The American Company built its defence stating that its search results only displays “snippets” of text from books, and do not connect users straight to the complete scripture.

Accordingly to the Judge of the United States Court of Appeal, David Chin, who ruled in favour of Google, the Google Books tool does not supplant the books as “the books are not on-line to be read but only to offer to users a research tool which allows them to access all texts of their interests”. Apparently, this use of copyright works creates a benefit for the authors by making their books easier to discover and helping them on the sales providing a direct link to web stores.

At the end, the Google Books tool produces advantages to the public by a “fair use” of the scanning tools, capable of “advancing the progress of the arts and sciences”.

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