Google has had plenty of run-ins with authors, publishers and distributors of books over the past several years, some more positive than others. But in its latest legal scuffle, Google has come out unscathed as Reuters reports that “a long-running lawsuit by authors who accused the Internet search company of digitally copying millions of books for an online library without permission” was dismissed, signaling a complete win for Google.
In 2011, U.S. Circuit Judge Denny Chin rejected a $125 million settlement between authors, publishers and Google to avoid giving Google what he called a “de facto monopoly” for copying books. In 2012, he allowed the authors to file a class action lawsuit against Google. At this point, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals stepped in and determined that Chin had not examined Google’s fair use defense. Although publishers managed to reach a settlement last year, Chin decided that “Google Books provide significant public benefits,” and dismissed the case on the grounds that Google’s digitization of books is covered under the U.S. fair use laws.
The Authors Guild does not agree and plans to appeal the decision.
“Google made unauthorized digital editions of nearly all of the world’s valuable copyright-protected literature and profits from displaying those works,” said Paul Aiken, executive director of the Authors Guild. “Such mass digitization and exploitation far exceeds the bounds of the fair use defense.”