U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Challenge to Google Book-Scanning Project

A challenge filed in the US Supreme Court by authors who contend that Google’s massive effort to scan millions of books for an online library violates copyright law was turned down by e court on Monday as it declined to hear the case.

It has been alleged that writers and publishers have been illegally deprived of revenue by the Google project that is known as Google Books, claimed the Authors Guild and several individual writers. An October 2015 ruling by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York was in favor of Google and the high court had left in place the order of the Circuit Court.

A unanimous three-judge appeals court panel while finding that the Google’s practices were ultimately allowed under the law, it said the case “tests the boundaries of fair use”.

The former New York Yankees pitcher Jim Bouton, who wrote the acclaimed memoir “Ball Four” are among the individual plaintiffs who had filed the proposed class action against Google.

A friend-of-the-court brief backing the Authors Guild was signed on by several prominent writers, including novelist and poet Margaret Atwood and lyricist and composer Stephen Sondheim.

A year after the project was launched the authors had sued Google in 2005. Google’s parent company is Alphabet Inc. the authors’ appeal was prompted by the litigation being dismissed ion a lower court dismissed in 2013.

While introducing them to books they might not otherwise have seen, Google argued that the effort would actually boost book sales by making it easier for readers to find works.

According to the court papers, the company made digital copies of more than 20 million books. Some publishers agreed to allow Google to copy their works.

Google Books displays excerpts that show the relevant search results after allowing the users to search the content of the books. The service “gives readers a dramatically new way to find books of interest” and lets people know where they can buy them, Google says in court papers. Users cannot read “any substantial portion of any book,” Google said.

If the authors had prevailed, it would have faces billions of dollars in potential damages, Google had said.

The case is Authors Guild v. Google Inc, U.S. Supreme Court, No. 15-849

(Adapted from Reuters.com)

Categories: Regulations & Legal

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