Durie Tangri obtained a major victory on behalf of our client Google Inc. in its defense of the Google Books program against a lawsuit led by the Authors Guild. Google began digitizing books in 2004 as part of its unprecedented initiative to provide a comprehensive, searchable, database of books that helps users discover new books and publishers discover new readers. In 2005, the Authors Guild and a group of authors sued Google in federal district court in New York, contending that Google Books infringed the copyrights of authors whose works were included in the project. The plaintiffs sought to bring the lawsuit on behalf of a class of authors, but earlier this year the Second Circuit held that the district court needed to first determine whether Google's activities were fair use before determining whether the case could proceed as a class action.
On November 14, 2013, the district court granted Google's motion for summary judgment, finding that Google Books squarely qualified as fair use. The court explained that Google "provides significant public benefits" by 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." The full opinion can be found here.