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US Supreme Court refuses to re-open Authors Guild case against Google

In the US, the Supreme Court has refused a petition to re-open a case alleging Google breached copyright by digitising millions of books, reports the New York Times. The long-running case dates back to 2004, when Google began digitising in-copyright works without permission for its searchable Google Books database. In 2013 an Authors Guild lawsuit against Google was dismissed on the grounds that the ‘snippets of text it makes available to users, constituted fair use’. The Authors Guild’s appeal against the ruling was rejected in October 2015 by the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which is now left in place following the Supreme Court’s order. The justices gave no reasons for declining to hear the case. The petition had argued that ‘the unprecedented scale of the Google Library Book Project, by itself, warrants a reconsideration of fair use in this case’. Following the court’s decision, the Author’s Guild said writers are left ‘vulnerable to copyright infringement’. ‘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,’ said guild president Roxana Robinson. The petition had the support of numerous well-known authors, including Australians Peter Carey, J M Coetzee, Thomas Keneally and Richard Flanagan.



Category: International news