Friday, October 16, 2015

Book 'Em, Google!

Google Books, a gigantic searchable repository of published books, has become the default resource for searching the contents of books.  A number of parties sued Google to challenge their chutzpah in scanning books and making them available on Google Books without permission from their authors and owners.  After a decade of litigation, the influential Second Circuit Court of Appeals has decisively sided with Google in its opinion in Authors Guild v. Google, Inc.:
The Court of Appeals concludes that the defendant’s copying is transformative within the meaning of Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc., 510 U.S. 569, 578-585 (1994), does not offer the public a meaningful substitute for matter protected by the plaintiffs’ copyrights, and satisfies §107’s test for fair use.
Unless the United States Supreme Court decides to add its voice to this debate over copyrights and copywrongs - not an improbability - the Second Circuit's decision will be a bitter pill to swallow for those who champion stronger copyright protections for authors.  On the other side of the social welfare ledger, this outcome ensures that the world of published books will remain a mere Google search away.  Over to you, Supremes!