Apr 20, 2016

    Google wins copyright battle as US court denies appeal


    GOOGLE'S massive book-scanning project cleared its final legal hurdle on Monday as the US Supreme Court denied an appeal contending it violates copyright law.

    The top US court denied without comment a petition from the Authors Guild to hear the appeal of a 2013 federal court ruling seen as a landmark copyright decision for the digital era.

    In a decade-long case, authors and their backers claimed Google was illegally scanning and digitising millions of books without compensation to the copyright holders.

    But the ruling by federal judge Denny Chin said the colossal project in which Google allows users to search books and see snippets of text was "fair use" under copyright law.

    The appeals panel last October rejected the arguments of the Authors Guild, several prominent writers and leading publishers that the Google Books programme and its Library Project would eat into their earnings potential by allowing readers free access to the books.

    Backers of Google contended that digitisation offers numerous public benefits for researchers and others.

    The decision "reflects what we have long said: that fair use is a powerful and flexible doctrine that enables not only new works, but also innovative uses of existing works", said Raza Panjwani of the consumer group Public Knowledge.

    "Although we are glad to see this 12-year saga come to an end, the real shame is that we've had to wait so long to achieve legal certainty about something so beneficial to the public."