It’s back: Google Books, our favorite topic in this Intellectual Property Viewpoints series. Google Books is the project through which Google has brought its search capability to the text of more than 20 millions books (with the number still growing). To do so, Google must scan the book and convert the scan to readable text. And there’s the problem: Scanning is copying, and copying raises the question of whether the massive project is a massive violation of the copyrights in all those books. Thus the Authors Guild v. Google class action brought by authors and publishers against Google in a federal district court in New York.

Our earlier discussions of the case include antitrust and procedural problems with a proposed – but ultimately rejected – settlement, concerns about the direction the controversy might take in the aftermath of that rejection, musings about how the whole thing might be resolved by Congress or a public commission, and evaluations of Google’s chances on prevailing on a fair use argument, both in the abstract and in light of a ruling in the related Authors Guild v. Hathitrust case involving university libraries that provided books to Google for scanning. [...]

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