On Monday, the United States Supreme Court refused to hear a challenge from multiple authors who argued that Google’s Google Books project was a blatant violation of copyright laws, which ended a decade-long legal battle in favor of the tech giant.
This means that an earlier lower court ruling in favor of the Google Books project, which stated that it fell under the category of fair use, will stand.
In 2004, Google scanned millions of books from many different research libraries, which resulted in the database that is currently known as Google Books. This program enables users to search for various quotes or keywords, and it also displays paragraphs and different pages of context.
In 2005, the Authors Guild began issuing complaints regarding the project by stating that Google Books were undermining writers by putting their work online for free. At one point, both parties had worked out a settlement; however, in 2011, this settlement was rejected by a judge. in 2015, the case reached the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit. In this instance, the three-judge panel sided with Google, finding that the company’s efforts amounted to a more transformative use of all of the material. Furthermore, they also ruled that small samples obtained from searching the entire Google Books database aren’t the same thing as a larger substitute for an original book.
As a result, the Authors Guild asked the Supreme Court to intervene in the case and review the decision. As previously stated, that request was denied on Monday.
The Authors Guild expressed disappointment in this decision, as did other groups who sided with their cause, including the Copyright Alliance. However, Google praised the Supreme Court’s decision to not intervene in the case, stating that the Google Books project acts as a form of card catalog that gives people a new way to find and purchase books while, at the same time, advancing authors’ interests.