Google Books Scanning Project Legal: U.S. Court of Appeals

While I had solemnly resolved not to inundate the followers of this blog with another piece this week, the hyperactivity stems from another path breaking decision on “fair-use” rendered by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Just 20 minutes back, the Second Circuit ruled that Google’s ambitious project of building an online library was legal. To refresh the memory of all copyright law enthusiasts, Google was sued by individual authors and the Authors Guild for the former’s act of scanning millions of books for a building an online library.

Circuit Judge Pierre Leval (for me his status is nothing short of a demigod) noted that Google was within the boundaries of fair-use for making short snippets of 10 million books online. The Court found that the project served public interest without violating intellectual property law.

This is a massive win for crusaders of  access to knowledge movement , which was lately being throttled by an overtly protectionist and restrictive copyright regime.

The decision is not yet in public domain. As soon as it is available, I will analyse the contours of “fair-use” for the benefit of readers (not to mention that this decision directly impacts my current work!). My guess is that the decision will be nothing short of atleast 50 pages (tell only will tell!).

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