Google has finally won an eleven year old legal battle with a group of authors. The US Supreme court finally passed its verdict in the favour of Google on Monday, 18th April, 2016.
The US Supreme Court denied hearing any appeal from the Authors Guild, who accused Google of breaching copyright laws by scanning books without their consent. Google was sued by Authors Guild in 2005, when the tech giant began the course of scanning books in 2004, in order to encompass the extracts in a searchable data. The Authors Guild appealed that Google was illegally scanning and digitizing many books without forfeiting any compensation to the copyright holders.
The Authors Guild had argued that Google’s Library Project and Book Program would obstruct their earnings by giving the readers free access to books. Google supported their digitalization process by saying it was for the benefit of general public, researchers and other good causes.
The judgement was passed by Federal Judge Denny Chin, supported by an appellate court panel who said that under the copyright law the project of Google that allows users to look up books and see parts of the text was “fair use” of dwindling works. Google would have had to pay billions towards damages claims from several authors if they would have lost the case.
The Authors Guild said that they were “disappointed” when Supreme Court denied hearing their appeal. The Guilds president Roxana Robinson said, “We believed then and we believe now that authors should be compensated when their work is copied for commercial purposes”.
Google spokesperson mentioned in one of their statements, “We are grateful that the court has agreed to uphold the decision of the Second Circuit which concluded that Google Books is transformative and consistent with copyright law.”