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View Full Version : Google wins their book-scanning case



Torgo
11-14-2013, 09:43 PM
The judge ruled fair use, essentially. (http://gigaom.com/2013/11/14/google-wins-book-scanning-case-judge-finds-fair-use-cites-many-benefits/)


US Circuit Judge Denny Chin said the book scanning amounted to fair use because it was “highly transformative” and because it didn’t harm the market for the original work.

“Google Books provides significant public benefits,” Chin wrote, describing it as “an essential research tool” and noting that the scanning service has expanded literary access for the blind and helped preserve the text of old books from physical decay.

Chin also rejected the theory that Google was depriving authors of income, noting that the company does not sell the scans or make whole copies of books available. He concluded, instead, that Google Books served to help readers discover new books and amounted to “new income from authors.”

I agree with the judge, and I think the Authors' Guild has been rather... quixotic.

blacbird
11-14-2013, 10:07 PM
Expect appeal. This one could wind up in the laps of the Supremes.

caw

Medievalist
11-14-2013, 10:11 PM
The judge ruled fair use, essentially. (http://gigaom.com/2013/11/14/google-wins-book-scanning-case-judge-finds-fair-use-cites-many-benefits/)



I agree with the judge, and I think the Authors' Guild has been rather... quixotic.

I do as well.

I've said this before, but we have a single manuscript of Beowulf, and it was very badly damaged in a fire.

Works with multiple copies fare better in terms of survival.

robjvargas
11-14-2013, 10:33 PM
Google needs to be sure that it's respecting copyright, but I've always had the impression that it's done exactly that.

And yeah, I'm with blacbird on expecting this to appeal all the way up.

jjdebenedictis
11-14-2013, 11:41 PM
I haven't been keeping up with the specifics of the case, so my apologies if I'm saying something bone-headed and ill-informed here, but I suspect the Author's Guild is more worried about this being a slippery slope that makes more overtly problematic behaviours harder to combat.

Copyright law is meant to protect authors while still allowing society the greatest possible benefit from using their art, i.e. you don't want to lock things up so that only the person who bought the book is allowed to look at it, but you also don't want the content so freely available that no one bothers to buy the book.

I think Google Books provides a great service to society and probably won't do much harm to the artists. Thus, I have to agree with the judge's ruling.

Torgo
11-15-2013, 12:02 AM
Google needs to be sure that it's respecting copyright, but I've always had the impression that it's done exactly that.

And yeah, I'm with blacbird on expecting this to appeal all the way up.

To be honest, I think it's less about Google respecting copyright than just saying, hey, let's scan the books and sort out the legal rights and wrongs later. They were on the hook for billions in damages if the chips fell the other way, but they can afford it, and they believed (as I do) that the social utility of the project would be enough to tip the scales in the long run.

Compare the Google Street View project - they went around photographing everything, and hoovering up broadcast Wifi data, and eventually were sanctioned for the latter - they overstepped the bounds of what the courts would accept, and you could interpret that as a lack of respect for privacy. But the result is a much better maps/location services for everyone, and the Wifi stuff didn't appear to end up hurting anyone. (I think it was probably right to slap them on the wrist, but accept they did a good and useful thing in the long run.)

Jamesaritchie
11-15-2013, 07:33 PM
If you don't own the copyright, leave book the hell alone. Google is as bad as Amazon. Maybe worse.