Web

Like to read? Google wins the right to legally scan books for the Web

google book scan authors guild books

After eight years of battling in court, Google has won the right to scan books and publish them online – for now.

U.S. Circuit Judge Denny Chin issued a decision on Thursday in New York, saying that Google Books, which provides Web users with access to previews and full versions of more than 20 million titles, is “highly transformative” due to the way it was implemented, and clearly falls into the copyright law’s exception for “fair use” because Google only provides “snippets” of copyrighted works for which it does not have publishing rights.

Chin went on to say that “Google Books provides significant public benefits” and would serve as “an essential research tool.” Chin added that Google Books “advances the progress of the arts and sciences, while maintaining respectful consideration for the rights of authors and other creative individuals, and without adversely impacting the rights of copyright holders.”

Google, of course, agrees.

“This has been a long road and we are absolutely delighted with today’s judgement,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement. “As we have long said Google Books is in compliance with copyright law and acts like a card catalog for the digital age – giving users the ability to find books to buy or borrow.”

The law does place some limitations on Google Books. For example, Google is not permitted to sell advertising on, or charge access to, Google Books. However, third parties may use the scanned book data for free without fear of falling on the wrong side of law.

Librarians and scholars view the decision as a major win, and, as GigaOm reports, their support in the case likely pushed the verdict in Google’s favor. The pro-copyright Author’s Guild, which brought the suit against Google, views the decision as a blow to writers and publishers.

“We disagree with and are disappointed by the court’s decision today. This case presents a fundamental challenge to copyright that merits review by a higher court,” said Author’s Guild Executive Director Paul Aiken in a statement. “Google made unauthorized digital editions of nearly all of the world’s valuable copyright-protected literature and profits from displaying those works. In our view, such mass digitization and exploitation far exceeds the bounds of the fair use defense.”

The Author’s Guild will likely appeal this decision. But for now, there are 20 million books out there just waiting for you to check out online.

Read Chin’s full decision below:

Google Books ruling on fair use.pdf by jeff_roberts881

[Image via pling/Shutterstock]

Social Media

Your Google+ public content will remain viewable on the web, if you want it to

Google's failed social network — Google+ — will soon be wiped from the internet, but there's a team of volunteers working right now to save its public content for the Internet Archive.
Mobile

Huawei has a bold Plan B should tensions affect its software relationships

Huawei has its own software for smartphones and computers prepared, should its relationship with Google and Microsoft be adversely affected by ongoing tensions between it and the U.S..
Emerging Tech

Google employee sets world record by calculating pi to 31 trillion digits

Google Cloud developer Emma Haruka Iwao has broken the world record for calculating pi to 31.4 trillion digits. What better way could there be to celebrate today's geeky holiday, Pi Day?
Mobile

Need to record calls on an iPhone? Check out our handy guide

Are you wondering how to record calls on your iPhone? It isn't as easy as you might think, but we'll walk you through the process of doing so with Google Voice, and identify several other apps and external voice recorders that can help.
Computing

Tired of paying a monthly fee for Word? The best Microsoft Office alternatives

Looking for a competent word processor that isn't Microsoft Word? Thankfully, the best alternatives to Microsoft Office offer robust features, expansive compatibility, and an all-too-familiar aesthetic. Here are our favorites.
Computing

Happy 30th, World Wide Web. Here’s how you changed the world, for good and bad

Thirty years ago, Tim Berners-Lee proposed the basics of the World Wide Web to the European Organization for Nuclear Research. Here's how the web has changed the world, and how the world may soon change the web.
Social Media

Twitter takes a cue from Instagram and Snapchat with new quick-swipe camera

Twitter is giving the "what's happening" treatment to photos and video by allowing users to access the in-app camera fast enough to catch and share the moment. The new Twitter camera is now accessible with a swipe.
Music

The best free music download sites that are totally legal

Finding music that is both free and legal to download can be difficult. We've handpicked a selection of the best free music download sites for you to legally download your next favorite album.
Computing

Make a GIF of your favorite YouTube video with these great tools

Making a GIF from a YouTube video is easier today than ever, but choosing the right tool for the job isn't always so simple. In this guide, we'll teach you how to make a GIF from a YouTube video with our two favorite online tools.
Movies & TV

No TV? No problem. Here's how to watch the Final Four online

Whether you want to watch the Big Dance on your phone or on your smart TV, we have the lowdown on the ways to watch all the March Madness you can handle. Grab your foam finger and some nachos.
Social Media

Yep, it’s not just you. Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp are down for many

Facebook's family of apps has been suffering issues for much of the day. Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Facebook itself have been out of action for users around the world, with the company scrambling to sort it out.
Web

Privacy-focused DuckDuckGo added to Chrome as a default search option

DuckDuckGo is now listed as a default search option on Google’s popular Chrome browser. The privacy-focused search engine was added this week as part of the browser's latest update.
Computing

Netgear’s new Nighthawk Pro Gaming router keeps you connected at a nice price

Netgear's latest router expands its Nighthawk range with a $200 entry. It's still fast and helps reduce lag in gaming, but it does it at the lowest price of a Nighthawk Pro Gaming router yet.
Mobile

Hey Google, why did you kill off Allo, your best messaging app in years?

Allo, Google's messaging app, has shut down. I convinced my closest friends and family to switch to the app two-and-a-half years ago when it debuted, and we've been using it since. With its death, I'm feeling pain and sadness.