The lower order courts had earlier sided with the internet giant and called its books’ scanning activities, “legal”
On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it will not take up the case against Alphabet Inc.’s accusing the internet search giant of infringing the copyright of all a large number of books by scanning them and making them searchable online.
The justices opined, in writing, that they are not ready to take up Authors Guild and individual writers appeal who have been blaming that the internet titan has been involved in the infringement “on an epic scale.”
Additionally, the lower courts had favored the Mountain View, Calif. based firm and stated that the company had used the writer’s work without any infringement as it only allows the user to find a “specified term” in a cluster of around 20 million books and only enable the view of an excerpt.
Now, since the supreme-court has declined to entertain the case therefore the ruling of the lower courts which side the company are final.
In response to the lower-court decision, the authors expressed through the court petition that the court’s decision is unjust and highlights “an unprecedented judicial expansion” of the theory of fair use. They also blamed that through this move, the court is actually threatening the digital age’s copyright protection. They further added that Google’s act of copying shouldn’t be swept under the “perceived social benefit” of the search product.
The $538 billion organization responded that its database of the books is more favorable for the authors as it allows the users to find new books on its platforms. In a court brief, Google cited: “A copyright does not protect its holder against the listing of a work in either a traditional card catalog or in this vastly superior new form of search tool.”
This initiative was commenced by the company back in 2004 when few research libraries allowed it to scan the books from their collection. The internet giant then handed over the “digital copy” of the books to the libraries. A large number of the books available on Google’s database are “out of print.” Additionally, majority of the books are in the public domain –meaning that they no longer classify for the “copyright protection.”
However, lots of books are under the umbrella of the copyright protection and the Californian internet titan hadn’t sought permission before scanning them from the copyright holders.
According to the Wall Street Journal, in the most recent hearing last October, New York situated, Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals gave out the verdict that the “Google’s actions were legal.”
The court said: “Google’s making of a digital copy to provide a search function is a transformative use, which augments public knowledge by making available information about plaintiffs’ books without providing the public with a substantial substitute for matter protected by the plaintiffs’ copyright interests.”
Few prominent writers, however, including Margaret Atwood, Tony Kushner, Malcolm Gladwell, and J.M. Coetzee have requested the Supreme Court to hear the case.