Raza Panjwani, copyright law expert at PK and the podcast guest who has received the most fan mail, returns to PKitK to tell Meredith Whipple everything there is to know and more about the 12-year Google Books lawsuit, in light of the recent Supreme Court rejection.
Today, the United States Supreme Court denied cert in the long-running Google Books case, Authors Guild, et al. v. Google, Inc., letting stand the Second Circuit’s landmark decision that digitizing, indexing, and displaying snippets of print books in internet search results constitute a fair use under copyright law.
Yesterday, a federal district court in New York decided that five universities' digitizing of their library collections was a fair use, rejecting the Authors Guild's attempt to halt the efforts. For a good, brief rundown of the decision, see James Grimmelmann's early post here. Also, see Nancy Sims here, and Kenneth Crews here.
Basically, HathiTrust, a non-profit digital library partnership, and five universities (Michigan, the UC system, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Cornell) partnered with Google to scan books in the university libraries.
Project Gutenberg is one of the Internet's great resources--the first "digital library," with thousands of public domain ebooks, and created entirely by volunteers. Its founder, Michael Hart, passed away this week, after founding the project--by typing in a copy of the Declaration of Independence--in 1971. In doing this, Hart invented the ebook, and what became Project Gutenberg release #1 is still available online. Hart's passing is a sad occasion but a good time to reflect on the importance of his life's work.
Today Judge Chin released his decision in the Google Books case. This is the biggest development in a while in a saga that has been unfolding since 2004. It’s great the the Judge recognized that Google and the Authors Guild (and the rest of the plaintiffs) were trying to use his court to set public policy, rather than to settle a dispute between parties. Hundreds of authors, academics, librarians, companies, and even foreign governments filed objections to the settlement, and we’re honored that the Judge agreed with us that the agreement, if approved, would give Google monopoly control of orphan works. The public deserves access to these works, but it should come through a change to the law, rather than a private agreement that locks in just one supplier.