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Google Books wins fair use case

Summary Judgement

Google has won a case against the Authors Guild over its canning books from libraries without permission of the copyright holders. In a summary judgement in favour of Google, Judge Denny Chin said that Google's "Library Project" was a pretty good idea.

It had transformed "expressive text" into a "word index" and searchable data but did not supplant or supersede books since it was not a tool for reading books. He said that the Library added value to the original and served educational purposes, even though Google's own motive is commercial profit.

Since the project limited the amount of text it displays in response to a search and enhances, rather than detracts from, the value of the works, it amounted to fair use. Judge Chin said that Google Books provides significant public benefits. It advances the progress of the arts and sciences, while maintaining respectful consideration for the rights of authors and other creative individuals, and without adversely affecting the rights of copyright holders.

Given that the case has been rattling around the EU for a while now we expect that the Author’s Guild will appeal.

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