Innovation Asset Blog

Google book search ruled fair use

Google's book search allows users to view excerpts of scanned books relevant to their query on the search engine. When it began in 2004, the project was controversial even in its infancy. However, crucially, users cannot see the entire text of a book, even though the whole work is scanned. The search engine also provides links to download or purchase physical copies of the work legitimately. Some publishers have agreements with Google to sell ebooks through the Google Play store, which sells apps and books on several devices. 

Judge Denny Chin of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit said in his ruling, "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," according to The New York Times. "Indeed," he wrote, "all society benefits." Judge Chin even said his own law clerks use Google Books for research during a September hearing on the case.

As technology advances, many more instances of digital data storage are being called into legal question for possible intellectual property infringement. Google Books is only one of the latest services of this kind to be found to operate under fair use, pointing to a shifting intellectual property landscape on the Internet.

Peter Ackerman

Peter Ackerman

Founder & CEO, Innovation Asset Group, Inc.