Google defeats Authors’ Guild in US book-scanning dispute

By Zachary Brown

Google has won the latest battle in its long-running dispute with the US Authors’ Guild over its plan to create a digital library of every book in the world. On 14 November 2013, US Circuit Judge Denny Chin ruled in favour of Google in the matter of The Authors’ Guild, Inc et al v Google Inc (05 Civ. 8136 (DC) (SDNY No. 14, 2013)), determining that the Google Books project was permissible under the ‘fair use’ defence in US copyright law.

In 2004, Google announced that it was planning to pursue an ambitious digital books project, termed Google Books. Google Books consisted of two programmes: the Partner Programme (initially called Google Print), encompassing some 2.5 million books displayed with the permission of book publishers and other rights holders; and the Library Project, encompassing some 20 million books (to date) which have been digitised from the collections of a number of major libraries, notably the New York Public Library, the Library of Congress, and the libraries of the universities of Oxford, Harvard, Stanford, California and Michigan, but without the permission of rights holders.

Under the Library Project, Google created an index of all scanned books which enables users to search the full text of books for a word or phrase, returning a list of the most relevant books in which the search term is found, along with links to sellers of the books or libraries which possess the books in their collections. Users may also view ‘snippets’ of books, representing a verbatim extract of one-eighth of a page. Users are prevented from viewing the entire text of books via a system in which at least one snippet on each page and one out of every 10 entire pages in a book are blanked-out and cannot be viewed…

If you are registered and logged in to the site, click on the link below to read the rest of the Goodman Derrick briefing. If not, please register or sign in with your details below.

Sign in or Register to continue reading this article

Sign in


It's quick, easy and free!

It takes just 5 minutes to register. Answer a few simple questions and once completed you’ll have instant access.

Register now

Why register to The Lawyer


Industry insight

In-depth, expert analysis into the stories behind the headlines from our leading team of journalists.


Market intelligence

Identify the major players and business opportunities within a particular region through our series of free, special reports.


Email newsletters

Receive your pick of The Lawyer's daily and weekly email newsletters, tailored by practice area, region and job function.

More relevant to you

To continue providing the best analysis, insight and news across the legal market we are collecting some information about who you are, what you do and where you work to improve The Lawyer and make it more relevant to you.

News from The Lawyer

Briefings from Goodman Derrick

View more briefings from Goodman Derrick

Analysis from The Lawyer

View more analysis from The Lawyer


10 St Bride Street

Turnover (£m): 12.80
No. of lawyers: 46