Google wins legal battle over book scanning after 11 years

The Supreme Court, the highest court in the United States, will not hear the case of an American writers association against Google. With this, the earlier judgment of the judge stands and Google wins the legal battle that lasted eleven years.

The Authors Guild is disappointed in the Supreme Court’s decision. According to the writers’ association, Google is infringing copyrights of four million books by scanning them and making them searchable in the Google Books service.

The union’s case against Google began in 2005. The Authors Guild demanded $750 in damages for each book scanned. After eight years, a New York court issued its first ruling in 2013. It ruled that scanning books and making parts of the text available on the internet as Google does fall under ‘fair use’.

According to the ruling, the potential lost income of rightholders in the case would be too small. In addition, the Google Books project would bring benefits to society, justifying possible copyright infringement. The writers’ union states that Google has scanned the books for commercial purposes and is making a profit.

The Authors Guild appealed, but Google was also right in that case, which served at the end of 2015. The authors’ advocates tried through the Supreme Court to get a new ruling, but they are not heard. A summary of the events in the lawsuit and related documents has been published by the Authors Guild.