Google wins long- run­ning le­gal bat­tle

The Star (Jamaica) - - INTERNATIONAL -

Afed­eral judge handed Google Inc. a vic­tory in a long- run­ning le­gal bat­tle on Thurs­day, toss­ing out a law­suit claim­ing the In­ter­net giant was vi­o­lat­ing copy­right laws by scan­ning books without their per­mis­sion to create the world’s largest dig­i­tal li­brary.

The Authors Guild had sued Google in fed­eral court in Man­hat­tan, 2005, claim­ing the Moun­tain View, Calif.based com­pany was not mak­ing “fair use” of copy­right ma­te­rial by of­fer­ing search­able snip­pets of works in its on­line li­brary.

Among the plain­tiffs was for­mer New York Yan­kees pitcher Jim Bou­ton, au­thor of the best- seller “Ball Four”.

Google al­ready has scanned more than 20 mil­lion books, most of them out- of- print, for the project. It in­cludes the col­lec­tions of the New York Pub­lic Li­brary, Li­brary of Congress and sev­eral ma­jor uni­ver­si­ties.

The guild was seek­ing $ 750 for each copy­righted book that was copied – dam­ages that Google es­ti­mated could climb to more than $ 3 bil­lion.

In a state­ment, Google said it was pleased with the de­ci­sion.

“This has been a long road, and we are ab­so­lutely de­lighted with today’s judg­ment,” the com­pany said. “As we have long said, Google Books is in com­pli­ance with copy­right law, and acts like a card cat­a­log for the dig­i­tal age, giv­ing users the abil­ity to find books to buy or bor­row.”

There was no im­me­di­ate re­sponse to phone mes­sages left with the Authors Guild. In his rul­ing, Cir­cuit Judge Denny Chin found that Google’s project would not “su­per­sede or sup­plant” books be­cause it’s not meant to be used for read­ing them.

Google’s project “does not en­gage in the di­rect com­mer­cial­i­sa­tion of copy­righted works,” wrote Chin, who be­gan hear­ing the case when he was a dis­trict judge. “Google does not sell its scans, and the scans do not re­place the books.”

The judge said that Google Books will ben­e­fit authors by in­creas­ing book sales and be­come a valu­able re­search tool for stu­dents and re­searchers who need to find their works.

“In my view, Google Books pro­vides sig­nif­i­cant pub­lic ben­e­fits,” the judge wrote. “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 im­pact­ing the rights of copy­right hold­ers.”

In 2011, Chin re­jected a $ 125 mil­lion set­tle­ment be­tween Google and lawyers for authors and pub­lish­ers that was op­posed by the search en­gine’s ri­vals, con­sumer watch­dogs, aca­demic ex­perts, lit­er­ary agents and even for­eign gov­ern­ments.

At the time, the judge said cre­ation of a universal li­brary would ben­e­fit many, but would “sim­ply go too far.”

AP

The home of Michael and Janni Dupre is de­stroyed af­ter the back­yard be­hind the home col­lapsed into a sink­hole, tak­ing their pa­tio and boat, on Thurs­day, Nov. 14, 2013. in Dunedin, Fla. Dunedin Deputy Fire Chief Trip Barrs said the hole ap­peared to be about 12- feet wide when of­fi­cials ar­rived on the scene. Res­i­dents of the neigh­bour­ing houses also were evac­u­ated as a pre­cau­tion. There are no re­ports of in­juries.

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