Group files appeal to block Google Books

An authors’ group is refusing to back down from its fight to prevent Google from scanning millions of books and making them accessible online.

According to a report from Publisher’s Weekly, the Authors Guild has appealed a federal judge’s November decision tossing out its case trying to halt the project.

A higher court needs to review the case, the trade group is arguing, to determine whether the Google project violates copyright laws.

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Google began the book-scanning project in 2004 and has since made digital copies of millions of books publicly accessible on the Internet. The books are now searchable on the Google Books site, though only small portions — not the entire book — are available for the public.

Many of those books were under copyright, however, and Google never obtained permission from the people who owned those rights. In 2005, some authors and publishers sued.

The case has gone through the courts for the last eight years. In November, a judge on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York threw it out.

Because Google only makes small snippets, is a “transformative” use of the books and actually encourages people to buy books, Circuit Judge Denny Chin concluded that the project falls within 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,” he wrote in the decision at the time. 

In a statement after the ruling, Authors Guild Executive Director Paul Aiken said the case “presents a fundamental challenge to copyright that merits review by a higher court.”