Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 14th Nov 2013 16:37 UTC

Google has won a resounding victory in its eight-year copyright battle with the Authors Guild over the search giant's controversial decision to scan more than 20 million library and make the available on the internet.

In a ruling (embedded below) issued Thursday morning in New York, 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," writes Chin, 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.

Too much common sense. I'm not sure I can handle this.

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RE[10]: Evidence
by galvanash on Sat 16th Nov 2013 03:57 UTC in reply to "RE[9]: Evidence"
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Google is making copies for free and without permission whereas the libraries have to pay for their copies.

See my other response to you. This is immaterial.

but if you are going to liken google to a library, then in principal google should be paying royalties too.

The difference is Google doesn't distribute complete copies of the works, copies that would obviously compete with and destroy the market value of the originals... In fact the court basically sees no economic harm at all in their service.

If libraries didn't have to pay for the books they loan and could simply make unlimited copies and loan them out with no restraint, they would completely destroy the book market. That is the difference. Its like the goose and the golden eggs - the courts established the fair use rules around how libraries work (and there are rules they have to follow) in an effort to give the public access to the golden eggs in a way that doesn't destroy the goose... Libraries have to buy the books because if they didn't it would destroy the incentive to make the books in the first place.

Google is doing something different than Libraries, because they go to great effort not to distribute copies of protected works that would compete with the copyright holder. The courts think that they have done it well enough to constitute fair use, so they get to keep doing it.

For better or worse, the government has stepped in and dictated the price to google shall be zero, so naturally copyright holders won't be getting monetary compensation from google, however let's stop the pretense that there would not have been a market value otherwise.

There is market value in Google Books, but its value is not dictated by the content - it is the service that has value. The service they offer is not distributing books - it is indexing them, making them easier for people to find them, easier for researchers to get quotes/excerpts, etc. - things the court determined do not negatively affect the rights holder ability to monetize their work. It is a transformative use - that literally means it has value outside the the content itself, i.e. a value the copyright holder does not have a right to, because it's value is not dictated by the content - and it may not be feasible to offer such a service otherwise (it would simply cost so much as to make it impossible for anyone to offer it to the public).

I say this because the minute Google tries to monetize this service in any way beyond what they do now they are treading on thin ice. This decision in no way gives them the right to start plastering ads on Google Books - part of the reason they won this case is because the court sees the limited amount of indirect revenue they receive currently as fair compensation for the service they offer... It doesn't given them license to start plastering ads all over it - the amount of revenue this service generates is very material to whether it is protected by fair use.

If they deviate much from their current practices (which is to not show any advertisement on Google Books itself unless permission is given by the copyright holder), they will likely end up right back in court - and they would wind up having to pay for it...

Also, I would point out something no one seems to mention... Google will take any book off of Google Books at the request of the copyright holder.

Granted it is opt-out (and I hate opt-out systems), but they do bow to the copyright holder's will when asked.

Edited 2013-11-16 04:08 UTC

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