Google Books Ruling: What Does It Mean?

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Did you hear about yesterday’s ruling on Google books?  Google’s book digitization project was challenged by the Authors Guild – this case has been in the works for 8 years!  U.S. Circuit Judge Denny Chin in New York ruled in favor of Google by dismissing the case.  In his opinion, he describes the benefits we all gain from having access to millions of digitized books – full text for books not under copyright, and snippets for books under copyright:

  • Google books expands access to millions of people – to the underserved and disabled – around the globe who would otherwise not have access to these titles.
  • Google books is an “essential research tool” by helping researchers find books (that otherwise would be difficult or even impossible to find), makes interlibrary loan more effective, and makes checking and finding citations easier.
  • Google books promotes new digital humanities scholarship, allowing researchers to mine huge amounts of data at one time.  This scholarship would be impossible without Google books.
  • Finally, Google books “helps to preserve books and give them new life.”

This story is not over, but for now, we can be confident that Google books will remain a valuable research tool to which we all have access.

Image credit: Steacie Science and Engineering Library at York University. By Raysonho @ Open Grid Scheduler / Grid Engine (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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