On October 16, the Second Circuit ruled that Google’s scanning of millions of books without the copyright holders’ permission, for use in its “Google Books” database, is permissible under the fair use doctrine. Google Books enables members of the public to search for terms within these books and view snippets of machine-readable text containing their search terms.
In 2004, Google entered into agreements with a number of the world’s major research libraries, pursuant to which Google was permitted to scan more than 20 million books submitted by those libraries in order to create an online index. Google’s aim was to enable members of the public to search for terms within the machine-readable text of each scanned book, in order to see if that book contained relevant material. The Google Books search tool does not display advertising or otherwise cost members of the public money, and searches reveal only snippets of text surrounding the words or phrases searched. Publishers and authors sued Google for injunctive relief, claiming that the search and snippet view features of Google Books undermined the value of their copyrighted works.
Continue Reading Second Circuit Holds That the Google Digital Books Project Is Protected Under the Fair Use Doctrine