Google cannot be stopped
The search giant crushed authors this week. Next up, advertisers. It would be scary, if it weren't so darn useful
Nov 15, 2013
Google won a huge victory on Thursday when District Court Judge Denny Chin ruled that Google’s massive book-scanning project, Google Books, was protected by the doctrine of “fair use” against charges of copyright infringement. The main plaintiff, the Authors Guild, announced it would appeal the ruling, but the consensus reaction of academics and tech pundits came down in support of the decision.
Chin’s explanation of his ruling certainly didn’t leave much wiggle room.
“[Fair use] doctrine permits the fair use of copyrighted works ‘to fulfill copyright’s very purpose, “[t]o promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts,”‘” wrote Chin.
In my view, Google Books provides significant public benefits. 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. It has become an invaluable research tool that permits students, teachers, librarians, and others to more efficiently identify and locate books. It has given scholars the ability, for the first time, to conduct full-text searches of tens of millions of books. It preserves books, in particular out-of-print and old books that have been forgotten in the bowels of libraries, and it gives them new life. It facilitates access to books for print-disabled and remote or underserved populations. It generates new audiences and creates new sources of income for authors and publishers. Indeed, all society benefits.
Judge Chin provided no data to support his assertion that Google Books surely results in additional book sales, but that’s just a quibble. The decision is clearly a big win for Google — another successful step forward in the search giant’s quest to “organize the world’s information.”...