Google Books Is Not Violating Copyright
November 12, 2015
Google Books was controversial the moment it was conceived. The concept is simple and effective though: books in academic libraries are scanned and snippets are made available online. People have the ability to search Google Books for specific words or phrases, then they are shown where it is contained within a book. The Atlantic wrote, “After Ten Years, Google Books Is Legal” about how a Second Circuit judge panel ruled in favor of Google Books against the Authors Guild.
The panel ruled that Google Books fell under the terms of “Fair Use,” which as most YouTubers know, is the ability to use a piece of copyrighted content within a strict set of rules. Fair usage includes works of parody, academic works, quotations, criticism, or summarization.
The Authors Guild argued that Google Books was infringing upon its members copyrights and stealing potential profits, but anyone knows that too much of a copyright is a bad thing. It places too many limitations on how the work can be used, harming the dissemination of creative and intellectual thought.
“’It gives us a better senses of where fair use lies,” says Dan Cohen, the executive director of the Digital Public Library of America. They “give a firmer foundation and certainty for non-profits…Of all the parts of Judge Leval’s decision, many people I talked to were happiest to see that it stressed that fair use’s importance went beyond any tool, company, or institution. ‘To me, I think a muscular fair use is an overall benefit to society, and I think it helps both authors and readers,’ said Cohen.”
Authors do have the right to have their work copyright and make a profit off it, which should be encouraged and a person’s work should not be given away for free. There is a wealth of information out there, however, that is kept under lock and key and otherwise would not be accessed with a digital form. Google Books only extends a book’s reach, speaking from one who has relied on it for research.