November 14th, 2013 by Mickey Osterreicher
In a 30 page decision, Circuit Court Judge Denny Chin granted Google’s motion for summary judgment and dismissed the Authors Guild copyright infringement case against Google.
The authors had accused Google of digitally copying millions of books without permission for use in a searchable online library .
Earlier this year the U.S Court if Appeals for the Second Circuit sent the case back to Judge Chin after it held that he incorrectly certified the authors “class action” before determining Google’s “fair use” defense which he ultimately agreed with in today’s opinion. Unless another appeal is taken, this ruling will now allow Google to move forward with its plans.
The court adopted the argument that such scanning by Google provides a societal benefit and enhanced access to books while also protecting a “respectful consideration” of the authors’ rights. He also embraced the argument that such digitalization was “transformative.” Judge Chin wrote, “Google Books provide significant public benefits,” adding, “Indeed, all society benefits” from “snippets” of these books being made available for online searches.
Today’s decision is the latest chapter in the case which was commenced in 2005, when authors and publishers sued Google over its digital books plan. The parties had reached a tentative $125M settlement in 2011, but Judge Chin rejected it because he believed it raised copyright and antitrust issues by giving Google a “de facto monopoly” to copy books en masse. The publishers settled their claim against Google in 2012.