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Appeals court rules in favor of Google Books

With so much information available on the Internet, many people in California search for the books they want to read online. Now, Google is attempting to scan and digitize every single book that exists. While most would agree that the Google Books project is ambitious, there is disagreement over whether the project is legal under copyright law.

According to statements from Google in 2010, Google Books will digitize 129,864,880 books and use them to create a searchable library. People will be able to search for texts, read snippets of the texts and then find links to libraries or bookstores where the actual books are stored. Though many libraries have been enthusiastic about the project and contributed books to it, many authors and publishers have argued that their copyrighted materials are being used without their permission.

The Authors Guild has fought Google Books for the past decade, leaving the project in limbo. On Oct. 16, a three-judge panel in a New York appeals court sided with Google, saying that the manner in which the books were being handled qualified as fair use of copyrighted materials. In the ruling, the judges said that Google Books was not violating copyright laws because it was not providing the public with a substitute for the original texts.

Although the appeals court ruled in favor of Google, the judges did comment that the copyright dispute tested the boundaries of the fair use defense. When copyrighted materials are shared on the Internet without the author's permission, it is sometimes a violation of copyright law. A lawyer may be able to help an author or publisher to protect copyrighted material by filing a lawsuit against parties that are using the materials unlawfully.

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