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Google’s scanning of books ruled as fair use

On Behalf of | Oct 22, 2015 | Intellectual Property

California book lovers may be pleased to hear about the latest ruling in the Authors Guild case against Internet giant Google. The case has been ongoing for 10 years, and recently was ruled on by a three-judge panel of a New York appeals court.

The Authors Guild has sued Google for Google’s plan to scan all existing books into its services, allowing people to read small portions of them. According to Google, the readable portions are then linked to stores where the books can be purchased and libraries where they can be checked out. The Authors Guild filed the lawsuit, asserting that Google’s actions violate copyright laws.

Google has asserted that its scanning of the books does not violate copyright laws, as it falls under the fair use exception. Courts often use a three-part test to determine whether an action meets the definition of fair use. First, they determine if the purpose is a commercial one. Then, they look at the nature of the material. Finally, they review how large of a reproduction is being made. In its ruling, the three-panel court stated that Google’s actions do constitute a fair use of the copyrighted material, as their aim is transformational in nature.

Copyright infringement cases can be highly complicated. People who believe that their copyrighted work has been used in violation of their rights may want to seek help from an attorney who has experience in intellectual property law. Short of filing litigation, the attorney may first try sending a cease-and-desist letter to the violating party. Legal counsel may also try to negotiate the payment of damages to the client. If negotiations fail, the attorney attempt to seek a preliminary injunction as a prelude to litigation.