U.S. Circuit Judge Denny Chin says Google Can Scan Author’s Books

Late last month, U.S. Circuit Judge Denny Chin, dismissed a lawsuit brought by authors against internet giant Google for digitally copying millions upon millions of books for an online repository/library without the author’s permission.  Judge Chin reasoned that Google’s digitization was “transformative,” meaning it gave the books a new purpose or character and that Google’s scanning of the author’s books – thereby making “snippets” of text available online, constituted fair use under U.S. copyright law. The argument made is that by allowing people to search for certain items that could be found in these scanned books, and then providing snippets of the text, the users are then able to decide on whether to purchase to the book (similar to what amazon.com does with its digital book previews, although amazon probably has agreements in place with the authors of those books, whereas Google does not).   Judge Chin also stated that Google Books provide[s] significant public benefits.  The authors guild disagrees and plans to appeal the decision.

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