Thursday, November 14, 2013

Background: Why Google Books is legal in the U.S. - Heise Newsticker

On Thursday, U.S. Judge Denny Chin has published his legal point of view after eight years of proceedings. In the process it was not about the facts, because he was undisputed between the parties. This also an even more sophisticated method by jury was unnecessary. Was still an open legal question whether Google’s service under fair use (such as “fair use”) falls, or is illegal.

Chin holds, first, that the mass scanning other works contrary undoubtedly at first glance to copyright. The same applies for providing the scans on the internet. Google had also not denied, but in the process rely on the doctrine of fair use. And this central argument, the Court now recognized.

fair use

goal of the U.S. copyright is “to promote the progress of science and useful arts”. If it helps to achieve this goal, other artists’ works can also be used if the rights holder does not agree. This doctrine is known as fair use. When exactly fair use exists in the law but not conclusively settled. That would be very difficult.

In case of dispute, four factors must be considered: It depends on the purpose of use – commercially, non-commercially or for education – as well as, or on the type of work that used excerpts in comparison to the overall work, and finally the impact on the potential market value of the work. The four test results must then be weighed against each other. This Judge Chin has made in its reasoning.

purpose of use

Together with the purpose of use is also necessary to consider whether the alien plants are simply transferred 1:1, which might argue against fair use, or can be used in varying ways. According to Chin Google Books is “in the highest manner changing”. The indexing of texts help, not previously known to find books. The display short snippets which was recognized as legitimate by showing thumbnails of other images comparable. The digitization of printed characters is altering and opens up entirely new research approaches.

While Google is intent to make a profit, an argument against fair use. But not a direct commercial exploitation was taking place. Google does not sell the scans yet who recognized texts, and shows the environment of the snippet shown not advertise on. Therefore Chin’s review of the first factor was clearly in favor of Google.

kind of affected plants

Both parties to the dispute were in agreement that the nature of the works in this case has no significant impact. Chin has therefore been limited to this point in the short findings.

scanned books were all once published and available to the public. Second, it is in the vast majority of plants to non-fiction – and not fiction, which would be stronger to protect. The result of the test in favor of fair use fall out.

The cutouts compared to the overall system


Google scans the entire book. However, there are also precedents according to which fair use can also be given if all works are used. Chin was important that Google displays the scanned texts only partially. “In consideration I realize that the third factor slightly against fair use talking,” Chin wrote.

impact on the potential market or value

The plaintiffs had argued that Google Books has a negative effect on its business. The lawyer can not get anything. Hardly anyone will enter countless searches to compile a book of text snippets. Without complete template that was also impossible to lock Google is also certain passages of text.


help Google Books here, to find new and books, which promotes their sales. So the fourth factor clearly speak in favor of fair use.

“Priceless tool”

In summary, Chin intones a hymn of praise. He speaks of “significant benefits for the public” and a “priceless tool for research.” Google Books promotes “the progress of science and art, while respectful of the rights of authors and other creative people observed, without adversely affecting the rights of copyright owners.”

Books search engine “rescues forgotten works and breathes new life into them,” and they “allow access for people with disabilities and those. in inaccessible or underserved regions” Google Books “brings new audiences and new revenue,” the judge wrote, “Surely, benefiting the whole of society.”


  • Google Books after eight years in court declared legally
  • ( Daniel AJ Sokolov ) / (anw)

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