In a panel, consisting o three judges, for the US Second Circuit Court of Appeals, it was finally ruled that the full-text book scanning done by Google has been considered “fair use.” What this means is that all of the books that Google scanned digitally is no protected from claims and copyright infringement. At this point, there are only two choices that the Author’s Guild could make, either appeal to the US Supreme Court, which would allow them to fight the ruling further, or just lay down their hands and allow Google to enjoy the victory.
How would you define fair use? It is a defense against copyright infringement (17 U.S.C. § 107), which allows normally copyright-protected material to be used without the author’s permission for purposes of teaching, research, news, commentary and criticism.
But in an author’s defense, fair use can’t “excessively damage the market for the original by providing the public with a substitute for that original work.”
For the three judges that presided over the case, the believed that Google’s book-scanning project met that criteria found within the definition of fair use. It didn’t matter that Google had a commercial interest or motivation in this situation.
If Google is allowed to go about their own business, the company can now work on always adding more and more books to their ever growing digital library, and will conclude a decade long battle between them and the authors guild.