Google has defeated an 8-year-old lawsuit by authors who accused the Internet company of digitally copying millions of books for an online library without permission.
U.S. Circuit Judge Denny Chin's ruling (attached below) states that Google's scanning of more than 20 million books, and making "snippets" of text available online, constituted "fair use" under U.S. copyright law.
Thursday's ruling, which the Author's Guild has vowed to appeal, ostensibly permits Google to continue expanding the library.
Judge Chin wrote that the scanning makes it easier for students, teachers, researchers and the public to find books, while maintaining "respectful consideration" for authors' rights.
"This is a big win for Google, and it blesses other search results that Google displays, such as news or images," University of Maryland intellectual property law professor James Grimmelmann told Reuters.
The Authors Guild expressed disappointment over the ruling.
"Google made unauthorized digital editions of nearly all of the world's valuable copyright-protected literature and profits from displaying those works," Paul Aiken, executive director of the Authors Guild, told Reuters. "Such mass digitization and exploitation far exceeds the bounds of the fair use defense."