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Courts rule for Google in book scanning lawsuit

A long-running period of litigation between Internet company Google Inc. and authors who accused the organization of digitally scanning millions of books without permission is now over for the time being. The U.S. Circuit Court dismissed the authors' claims in the business litigation suit, ending almost ten years of court proceedings between the two parties and giving Virginia and U.S. citizens a chance to review millions of online titles.

The judge's ruling stated that the way that Google digitally scanned the books and provided only snippets of them online to customers constituted the practice of "fair use" under current U.S. copyright law. The judge also stated that the way that the books were presented provided important research information for teachers, students and the public while maintaining respectful consideration for the rights of the original authors.

Google praised the decision of the Circuit Court. In a statement made from their Mountain View, California, headquarters, a representative said that they were delighted with the judge's ruling and have been compliant with copyright law since they began the digitizing project back in 2004. On the other side, a representative from the Authors Guild said that they were disappointed about the ruling because Google profits from the digitizing and displaying of millions of unauthorized works. An appeal is expected in the case.

Commercial law can be tough to maneuver through, especially when differing points of view of trademark and copyright law are involved. In situations like these, a law firm that deals in business and commercial law may need to be consulted with. Professionals at these types of firms might work with clients to determine the best course of action in reviewing their complaint as well as assist if an appeal is necessary.

Source: Reuters, "Google defeats authors in U.S. book-scanning lawsuit", Jonathan Stempel, November 14, 2013

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