Google has won an important victory today. In a ruling issued this morning, US Circuit Judge Denny Chin ruled in favour of Google, finding that its scanning of millions of books in its Google Books project is fair use.
“In my view”, Judge Chin wrote “Google Books provides significant public benefits. It 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. It has become an invaluable research tool that permits students, teachers, librarians, and others to more efficiently identify and locate books. It has given scholars the ability, for the first time, to conduct full-text searches of tens of millions of books. It preserves books, in particular out-of-print and old books that have been forgotten in the bowels of libraries, and it gives them new life. It facilitates access to books for print-disabled and remote or underserved populations. It generates new audiences and creates new sources of income for authors and publishers. Indeed, all society benefits.”
Indeed, that’s what fair use is about: “advancing 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”.
And so is fair dealing. As I recently wrote: “Fair dealing has a purpose: to allow the unauthorized use of works in a manner that promotes the public interest in the encouragement and dissemination of works of the arts and intellect, when the dealing does not seriously undermine the copyright owner’s opportunity to obtain a just reward. It is the same purpose identified by Lord Mansfield in 1785, Souter J in 1995 or the Supreme Court of Canada in 2004 and 2012.” And as of today, by Chin J.
You’re in good company, Judge Chin.