Supreme Court denies challenge to Google book-digitizing project
Apr 19, 2016 06:50 AM EDT
On Monday, the US Supreme Court rejected to hear a challenge made by a group of authors who complained that Google's massive effort to scan millions of books for an online library violates copyright laws, saying that the project makes it difficult for them to market their work.
According to CBC News, the judges let stand lower court rulings favoring California-based Google and declining the authors' argument that the company's digitizing of books amounts to an infringement on an unprecedented scale. Lower courts said that Google can provide some portions of the books to the public without violating copyright laws.
In 2005, the Authors Guild and individual authors sued Google over the digital book project. The company has made 20 million digital copies of books from major research libraries and have established a search function that is available to the public. The 2nd US District Court of Appeals in Manhattan agreed with a judge who concluded that Google was not violating any copyright law when it only showed customers small portions of the books. The authors argued that the project spoils the market for their labor.
GMA News reported that their project would actually boost book sales by making it straightforward for customers to find works while introducing them to book they might not otherwise have seen or known. The book project, known as Google Books, allows readers to search the content of the books and features excerpts that show the relevant search results.
Google says in court documents that Google Books gives readers a "dramatically" new way to search books of interests and allows consumers to know where they can buy them. The three-judge appellate court panel unanimously said that the case tests the boundaries of fair use, but found Google's project ultimately legal, reports Reuters.
Google admitted that it could have faced billions of dollars in potential damages if the authors won the case.