It was just a bit more than a year ago that Google and the Association of American Publishers (AAP) concluded a settlement agreement (here) that put an end to copyright infringement proceedings first brought against Google in 2005 by five AAP member publishers (McGraw-Hill, Pearson Education, Penguin Group USA, John Wiley & Sons, and Simon & Schuster) over its Google Books Library Project.
However, the settlement achieved with AAP did not affect the (still) ongoing litigation between the Authors Guild and Google.
As reported by the IPKat, in late 2012 Google submitted a brief to the US Second Circuit Court of Appeals, in which it basically asked the Court to reject Judge Denny Chin's ruling in May 2012 that let the Authors Guild sue Google on behalf of all authors whose books were scanned without permission.
In July last the Second Circuit delivered its decision, substantially agreeing with Google and holding Judge Chin's class certification as "premature in the absence of a determination by the District Court [ie Judge Chin] of the merits of Google's 'fair use' defense".
Hence, the Second Circuit decided to remand the cause to the District Court for consideration of the fair use issues.
As reported by Reuters a few minutes ago, today Judge Chin accepted Google's argument that that its scanning of more than 20 million books for an electronic database, and making "snippets" of text available for online searches, constituted fair use. "In my view, Google Books provide significant public benefits", said Judge Chin.
Today's ruling is BIG news for anyone interested in copyright. This Kat promises to read the decision as soon as possible and summarise the main points on this blog. So: stay tuned!
UPDATE: The summary judgment order is now available here.
BREAKING NEWS: Google Books Library Project is FAIR USE Reviewed by Eleonora Rosati on Thursday, November 14, 2013 Rating: