US Supreme Court Sides with Google Books in Copyright Case

April 19, 2016 - Written By Alexander Maxham

Back in 2004, Google began scanning books from major research libraries. This has created a rather large database for Google, and it allows users to search for keywords, phrases, quotes and more from the search engine. It’s something that many users loved the idea of, but many authors were not too fond of. Google Books has been in a legal spat over this for over a decade now. But as of today, it is over. With the Supreme Court declining to hear the case. A federal appeals court ruling in October of 2015 found that the book-scanning program was “fair use”. And now that the Supreme Court has declined to hear the case, the ruling will stand.

The Authors Guild President Roxana Robinson stated that “authors suffered a colossal loss” in regards to the Supreme Court’s decision. The Copyright Alliance also expressed their disappointment in this decision following the announcement. Chief Executive of the Copyright Alliance, Keith Kupferschmid stated, “in declining to take the case, the Supreme Court let stand a Second Circuit decision that dramatically expands the boundaries of the fair use doctrine’s transformative use test, which affects creators and copyright owners of all types.”

Google Books has since been heavily integrated into Google search and there’s a good bit of information included in the knowledge graph (which is where the cards come from, in search results). It’s especially useful for those writing research papers, or doing homework. Especially if they don’t have the book for their class. Google has scanned a good number of college libraries since 2004. Especially research-oriented libraries, which makes the information accessible to everyone and not just those that attend those schools.

While Google Books may not be the most popular service from Google, it’s still a pretty popular one. And it’s nice to see that the legal spat with Google Books is now over, at least in this regard. There will likely be plenty of other legal spats in the future when it comes to copyrights and Google’s Book library. As for now, you can still search Google for quotes and such found in many books and even textbooks.