The Authors Guild and individual authors were denied a challenge they filed against Google, on Monday by the Supreme Court which stated that the company’s online library makes it harder for them to market their work.
The motion was first brought into court in 2005 when the aforementioned entities filed their challenge against Google’s digital books project. The web giant has, until now, made digital copies of more than 20 million books from major research libraries. These books have been made publicly available via its online library. Many authors claim that digitizing millions of books amounts to “copyright infringement on an epic scale.”
Today, the top court denied the request for a suit without a comment.
Previous rulings were in favour of Google with lower courts saying that Google can provide small portions of the books to the public without violating copyright laws. A 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals in New York, in October stated that no laws were being broken by Google if it showed small portions of books to its users. The authors retaliated stating that this trend spoils their marketing.
The appeals court said that Google’s “snippet view, at best and after a large commitment of manpower, produces discontinuous, tiny fragments, amounting in the aggregate to no more than 16% of a book. This does not threaten the rights holders with any significant harm to the value of their copyrights or diminish their harvest of copyright revenue.”
The law suit is being filed by several prominent authors and writers like Jim Bouton, author of the bestseller “Ball Four,” Betty Miles, author of “The Trouble with Thirteen,” and Joseph Goulden, author of “The Superlawyers: The Small and Powerful World of Great Washington Law Firms.”
“Blinded by the public benefit arguments, the Second Circuit ruling tells us that Google, not authors, deserves to profit from the digitization of their books,” said Mary Rasenberger, executive director of the authors group.
The ruling, she said, “misunderstood the importance of emerging online markets for books and book excerpts. It failed to comprehend the very real potential harm to authors resulting from its decision. The price of this short-term public benefit may well be the future vitality of American culture.”