Recently, Google, Inc. (hereinafter “Google”), owner of the eponymous search engine, partnered with several libraries, in an effort to make their collections available for search on the Internet. This project has come under attack by The Author’s Guild (hereinafter “The Guild”). The Guild complains that scanning and uploading copyrighted works without the authors’ consent violates their rights under the Copyright Act.1 Google counters that its use of sections from the copyrighted works falls under the “fair use” doctrine described in the Copyright Act.2 However, the Guild notes that in order to use these sections, Google first reproduced the entire work, violating the rights to reproduction that are protected by the Act.3

The question is whether Google’s actions do indeed violate the copyrights of the plaintiffs or whether these actions are protected by the Fair Use Doctrine. Part II of this note will review the facts of this case and its prior history. Part III will discuss the law relevant to the dispute. Finally, Part IV will approach potential arguments for either side, addressing strengths, faults, and previous interpretations of the law….

 

Dr. Michael Goldstein*