If you don’t know anything about one of Google’s projects, Google Books, don’t feel bad. It has been stuck in court since 2005 because of disputes over potential copyright issues. Back when Google was still an upcoming search engine a year before the case arrived on their doorstep, they proposed to digitally scan every book that exists which Google says comes to around 129,864,880 total books. With no time to waste, they began scanning. They hoped to implement all of the text in a search engine that would work like…google. But the text would be revealed in snippets rather than whole texts. Publishers and authors were not fond of the idea, fearing it would impact the sales of their books. The Authors Guild filed for a lawsuit claiming that it infringed on the copyright the materials.
The case was almost resolved back in 2011 when both parties proposed a payment system to compensate using the copyrighted information. However, this was rejected by a judge due to a possible creation of a “de facto monopoly” on out-of-print books.
On October 16, 2015, an appeals court granted Google the right to scan books under fair use. Fair use allows for parts of copyright material to be used if it is for educational purposes, criticism, news, or parodies. The court stated, “The purpose of the copying is highly transformative, the public display of text is limited, and the revelations do not provide a single market substitute for the protected aspects of the originals.” Google can now legally scan books as it does not violate any copyright laws.
It is obvious that Google is becoming more powerful each day so we should all humbly welcome our new corporate overlords as they take control of the world.