This is extremely good news:
A New York federal judge has overturned a Nov. 2009 agreement on whether or not Google can digitize millions of books as part of its Google Books initiative.
My position has always been that the Google Books Settlement was a direct violation of copyright law and of the rights of copyright holders. Judge Denny Chin clearly agreed:
Indeed, the ASA would give Google a significant advantage over competitors, rewarding it for engaging in wholesale copying of copyrighted works without permission, while releasing claims well beyond those presented in the case.”
I’ll have more to say about this after I digest the ruling. Previous commentary on the issue here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.
Update: It’s reassuring to see that Google’s blatant larceny is being exposed and denied in this case (p. 35).
Second, it is incongruous with the purpose of the copyright laws to place the onus on copyright owners to come forward to protect their rights when Google copied their works without first seeking their permission.
If Google and the Author’s Guild could conspire to circumvent third-party copyrights, and copyright law itself, there would be no end to the abuses unleashed on authors — all at a time when authors of all stripes need copyright protection more than ever.
Independent authorship is premised on inviolate copyright law. This ruling and rebuke could not be more welcome.
— Mark Barrett
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