Authors Argue In Court That Google Books Scanning Project Is Bad For Book Sales

Is Google Books a useful tool for finding exactly the book that you need and driving sales, or a copyright infringement on a massive scale? That’s been the longtime argument (in court) between Google and some of the authors whose work appears in the search engine. At stake are billions of dollars that Google would owe the Authors Guild and individual authors who are parties to the suit.

Google Books is now a decade old. The project began with the scanning of university book collections. Google Books reproduces pages from these books and scanned them using optical character recognition, making every word of the text searchable. The collection also includes vintage magazines, something that we’re very fond of mining to mock advertising from the past.

While there’s no legal issue with scanning and reproducing books that are long out of print and that are now in the public domain, authors do take issue with their books sitting in their fully-indexed entirety on Google’s servers. A federal judge dismissed the authors’ case at the end of 2013, and the parties are currently arguing the case in a federal appeals court. While the authors claim that scanning books and making them searchable is a potentially money-making infringement, Google contends that the database is really intended to make books easier to find and buy. Pages for each book do provide links to purchase the book that a surfer is looking at, or to locate it in a nearby public or university library.

Google should pay authors for scanned books, U.S. appeals court told [Reuters]

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