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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Court says book scanning for online archives is fair use - a blow to authors 

ArsTechnica is reporting that a judge in New York has ruled that scanning an entire book as part of a library system is "fair use," which seems to bode well for Google in its battle against the authors guild over Google's attempt to digitize scads of printed material. (The suit wasn't actually about Google.)

The whole story is here.

The article notes that a key point is that the judge ruled the scanning transforms the works and therefore is legal. It quotes from the ruling: "The use to which the works ... are put is transformative because the copies serve an entirely different purpose than the original works: the purpose is superior search capabilities rather than actual access to copyrighted material."

This isn't much solace to authors who fear that people interested in bits of their work will just hunt for it instead of buying the whole work, as we once had to do. How-to books are particularly vulnerable.