The US Supreme Court has ruled in favour of Google in its 11-year legal battle with the Authors Guild
The Court stated that it would not hear an appeal from the Authors Guild, which claimed Google breached copyright laws by scanning books without permission.
Google began the process in 2004, so it could include extracts in a searchable database and digital backup of historical books. Google was subsequently sued in 2005 by the Authors Guild.
Google’s database of books allows users to search through millions of titles and read passages and selected pages from them.
Some of the books in the database are historic titles that are no longer protected by copyright, millions are more recent publications.
The Authors Guild had argued that the project undermined authors’ ability to make money from their work.
Google said its database was a “fair use” of protected works, describing it as “a card catalogue for the digital age”.
The firm could have faced billions of dollars in damages claims from authors if it had lost the case.
A Google spokeswoman said: “We are grateful that the court has agreed to uphold the decision of the Second Circuit which concluded that Google Books is transformative and consistent with copyright law.”