US Appeals Court holds Google book digitisation to be fair use

Posted On October 21, 2015
In Copyright in Cyberspace / Reply

The Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit has ruled that Google’s book digitisation project is sufficiently transformative to qualify as a non-infringing fair use of copyright material.

The decision follows a decade of litigation by the Authors’ Guild, acting on behalf of authors as a class.  The Authors Guild claimed that the copying involved in the digitisation project would usurp authors’ rights to license others to provide digital access to their works.

Persuasive to the appeals court was Google’s use of search functionality and the displaying of snippets of the digitised works.  These features were sufficiently transformative to provide a valuable public benefit without substituting for the authors’ works in the marketplace.

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