The legal difficulties surrounding Google Books has been around for a while now. It was greeted with open hostility back in 2005, and was still drawing attention as recently as 2008 when the Google vs. Author’s Guild settlement resulted in the creation of the books rights registry. What was thought to be a settlement turned out to be the a lull in the ongoing legal battle, and the case has been fought for the last seven years, moving in and out of the public consciousness as developments came to light.
The suit popped back onto our radar this week because Google has finally released it’s defense of the Google Books project under fair use guidelines, as reported by Publisher’s Weekly. The defense forth the argument that Google Books – which scans the contents of books held in libraries – holds enormous social benefit and provides transformative benefit to the works without challenging copyright.
The potential benefits of Google Books has never really been in doubt. The issue raised by the Author’s Guild, and many writers who have been watching this case for the past seven years, is the wholesale appropriation of copyrighted works without the creator’s permission.
Google’s defense is part of their most recent attempt to get the case dismissed, and we recommend any writer or creative with an interest in copyright take a look at the Publisher’s Weekly report which covers things in far more detail. You can rest assured that Speakeasy will be keeping an eye out for additional commentary as it crops up around the internet, particularly as the courts make their decision as to whether the case can continue.