Book publishers lose; the internet wins.

It was announced Monday that the Supreme Court of the United States will not hear a challenge to the legality of Google Books, the internet giant’s project to scan and post millions of books to an online, searchable index.

An opposition to Book’s claim of “fair use” of copyrighted materials was first brought to court by the Author’s Guild in 2005. The case was dismissed, appealed, and dismissed, with the last ruling before today coming in 2015 from the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The dismissal Monday by SCOTUS, the highest court in the land, is the final judgement on the matter. So Google Books will live on.

Launched in 2004, Google Books provides digital, searchable portions (and, in some cases, full versions) of historical and modern written works. Books that are presented as previews, with pages missing, are copyrighted works that publishers may or may not have given Google permission to use. Google also posts books in-full that it has been given permission to, and public domain works are free for online visitors to download in PDF format.

“A copyright does not protect its holder against the listing of a work in either a traditional card catalog or in this vastly superior new form of search tool,” Google stated in a court brief, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Seen below is a portion of MaddAddam (book 3), by Margaret Atwood, an author who joined in asking SCOTUS to hear the case against Google Books.

Author Margaret Atwood signed a friend-of-the-court brief, which asked SCOTUS to hear the case against Google Books.

In addition to letting internetters read or preview books on its site, Google Books also helps readers find books in the flesh with links to libraries and retailers.


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