The U.S. Supreme Court has today denied to review an appeal to the case Authors Guild v. Google 

The decision leaves standing the view that copying and providing access to some millions of copyright protected books for profit-making purposes and without payment to authors is “fair”.

“Today authors suffered a colossal loss,” said Authors Guild president Roxana Robinson. “We filed the class action lawsuit against Google in September 2005 because, as we stated then, ‘Google’s taking was a plain and brazen violation of copyright law.’ We believed then and we believe now that authors should be compensated when their work is copied for commercial purposes.”

Read the Author’s Guild’s response to the decision.

“The price of this short-term public benefit may well be the future vitality of American culture,” continued Rasenberger. “Authors are already among the most poorly paid workers in America; if tomorrow’s authors cannot make a living from their work, only the independently wealthy or the subsidized will be able to pursue a career in writing, and America’s intellectual and artistic soul will be impoverished.”

Robinson added, “The denial of review is further proof that we’re witnessing a vast redistribution of wealth from the creative sector to the tech sector, not only with books, but across the spectrum of the arts.”

Google had said it could have faced billions of dollars in potential damages if the authors had prevailed. The company made digital copies of more than 20 million books, according to court papers.

A three-judge court panel said the case “tests the boundaries of fair use,” but found Google’s practices were ultimately allowed under the law.

 

 

More Information

Read further history of the Google Books case in our post, US Court holds Google’s Digitisation is ‘Fair Use’