A US Circuit Court judge has dismissed a lawsuit against Google Books
, rejecting the Authors Guild's allegations of copyright infringement. Judge Denny Chin sided with Google's argument that displaying small excerpts of scanned books in search results is protected by the fair-use doctrine.
"In my view, Google Books provides significant public benefits. It advances the progress of the arts and sciences, while maintaining respectful consideration for the rights of authors and other creative individuals, and without adversely impacting the rights of copyright holders," Judge Chin wrote in his ruling, as quoted
The Authors Guild has claimed that the Google Books project runs afoul of copyright law, arguing that even excerpts published without permission represent infringement. The plaintiffs had pushed for class-action status, attempting to sue on behalf of all authors whose works have been included in the project.
The parties had already worked out a settlement agreement, which would have enabled Google to sell copies of works with unknown copyright holders, however the terms were rejected by the court
and both sides failed to present a satisfactory alternative.
"[Google Books] generates new audiences and creates new sources of income for authors and publishers," Judge Chin added. "Indeed, all society benefits."