804 F.3d 202 (2nd Cir. 2015), 13-4829-cv, Authors Guild v. Google, Inc.
|Citation:||804 F.3d 202, 116 U.S.P.Q.2d 1423|
|Opinion Judge:||Leval, Circuit Judge.|
|Party Name:||THE AUTHORS GUILD, BETTY MILES, JIM BOUTON, JOSEPH GOULDEN, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff-Appellants, v. GOOGLE, INC., Defendant-Appellee HERBERT MITGANG, DANIEL HOFFMAN, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, PAUL DICKSON, THE MCGRAW-HILL COMPANIES, INC., PEARSON EDUCATION, INC., S...|
|Attorney:||For Plaintiff-Appellants: PAUL M. SMITH, JENNER & BLOCK LLP, WASHINGTON, DC (Edward H. Rosenthal, Jeremy S. Goldman, Anna Kadyshevich, Andrew D. Jacobs, Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz PC, New York, N.Y. on the brief). For Defendant-Appellee: SETH P. WAXMAN, WILMER CUTLER PICKERING HALE AND DORR LL...|
|Judge Panel:||Before: LEVAL, CABRANES, PARKER, Circuit Judges.|
|Case Date:||October 16, 2015|
|Court:||United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit|
Argued December 3, 2014
[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
Plaintiff-appellants, who are authors of published books under copyright, appeal from the judgment of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (Chin, J.) in favor of Defendant Google, Inc. Plaintiffs sued Google, alleging that its Library Project and Google Books project infringe Plaintiffs' copyrights. Through these projects, Google makes and retains digital copies of books submitted to it by major libraries, allows the libraries that submitted a book to download and retain a digital copy, and allows the public to search the texts of the digitally copied books and see displays of snippets of text. The district court granted summary judgment based on its conclusion that Google's copying is fair use under 17 U.S.C. § 107 and is therefore not infringing. The Court of Appeals concludes that the defendant's copying is transformative within the meaning of Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc., 510 U.S. 569, 578-585, 114 S.Ct. 1164, 127 L.Ed.2d 500 (1994), does not offer the public a meaningful substitute for matter protected by the plaintiffs' copyrights, and satisfies § 107 's test for fair use.
This copyright dispute tests the boundaries of fair use. Plaintiffs, who are authors of published books under copyright, sued Google, Inc. (" Google" ) for copyright infringement in the United States District
Court for the Southern District of New York (Chin, J. ). They appeal from the grant of summary judgment in Google's favor. Through its Library Project and its Google Books project, acting without permission of rights holders, Google has made digital copies of tens of millions of books, including Plaintiffs', that were submitted to it for that purpose by major libraries. Google has scanned the digital copies and established a publicly available search function. An Internet user can use this function to search without charge to determine whether the book contains a specified word or term and also see " snippets" of text containing the searched-for terms. In addition, Google has allowed the participating libraries to download and retain digital copies of the books they submit, under agreements which commit the libraries not to use their digital copies in violation of the copyright laws. These activities of Google are alleged to constitute infringement of Plaintiffs' copyrights. Plaintiffs sought injunctive and declaratory relief as well as damages.
Google defended on the ground that its actions constitute " fair use," which, under 17 U.S.C. § 107, is " not an infringement." The district court agreed. Authors Guild, Inc. v. Google Inc., 954 F.Supp.2d 282, 294 (S.D.N.Y. 2013). Plaintiffs brought this appeal.
Plaintiffs contend the district court's ruling was flawed in several respects. They argue: 1) Google's digital copying of entire books, allowing users through the snippet function to read portions, is not a " transformative use" within the meaning of Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc., 510 U.S. 569, 578-585, 114 S.Ct. 1164, 127 L.Ed.2d 500 (1994), and provides a substitute for Plaintiffs' works; (2) notwithstanding that Google provides public access to the search and snippet functions without charge and without advertising, its ultimate commercial profit motivation and its derivation of revenue from its dominance of the world-wide Internet search market to which the books project contributes, preclude a finding of fair use; (3) even if Google's copying and revelations of text do not infringe plaintiffs' books, they infringe Plaintiffs' derivative rights in search functions, depriving Plaintiffs of revenues or other benefits they would gain from licensed search markets; (4) Google's storage of digital copies exposes Plaintiffs to the risk that hackers will make their books freely (or cheaply) available on the Internet, destroying the value of their copyrights; and (5) Google's distribution of digital copies to participant libraries is not a transformative use, and it subjects Plaintiffs to the risk of loss of copyright revenues through access allowed by libraries. We reject these arguments and conclude that the district court correctly sustained Google's fair use defense.
Google's making of a digital copy to provide a search function is a transformative use, which augments public knowledge by making available information about Plaintiffs' books without providing the public with a substantial substitute for matter protected by the Plaintiffs' copyright interests in the original works or derivatives of them. The same is true, at least under present conditions, of Google's provision of the snippet function. Plaintiffs' contention that Google has usurped their opportunity to access paid and unpaid licensing markets for substantially the same functions that Google provides fails, in part because the licensing markets in fact involve very different functions than those that Google provides, and in part because an author's derivative rights do not include an exclusive right to supply information (of the sort provided by Google) about her works. Google's profit motivation does not in these circumstances justify denial of fair use. Google's program
does not, at this time and on the record before us, expose Plaintiffs to an unreasonable risk of loss of copyright value through incursions of hackers. Finally, Google's provision of digital copies to participating libraries, authorizing them to make non-infringing uses, is non-infringing, and the mere speculative possibility that the libraries might allow use of their copies in an infringing manner does not make Google a contributory infringer. Plaintiffs have failed to show a material issue of fact in dispute.
We affirm the judgment.
The author-plaintiffs are Jim Bouton, author of Ball Four ; Betty Miles, author of The Trouble with Thirteen ; and Joseph Goulden, author of The Superlawyers: The Small and Powerful World of the Great Washington Law Firms. Each of them has a legal or beneficial ownership in the copyright for his or her book.1 Their books have been scanned without their permission by Google, which made them available to Internet users for search and snippet view on Google's website.2
II. Google Books and the Google Library Project
Google's Library Project, which began in 2004, involves bi-lateral agreements between Google and a number of the world's major research libraries.3 Under these agreements, the participating libraries select books from their collections to submit to Google for inclusion in the project. Google makes a digital scan of each book, extracts a machine-readable text, and creates an index of the machine-readable text of each book. Google retains the original scanned image of each book, in part so as to improve the accuracy of the machine-readable texts and indices as image-to-text conversion technologies improve.
Since 2004, Google has scanned, rendered machine-readable, and indexed more than 20 million books, including both copyrighted works and works in the public domain. The vast majority of the books are non-fiction, and most are out of print. All of the digital information created by Google in the process is stored on servers protected by the same security systems Google uses to shield its own confidential information.
The digital corpus created by the scanning of these millions of books enables the Google Books search engine. Members of the public who access the Google Books
website can enter search words or terms of their own choice, receiving in response a list of all books in the database in which those terms appear, as well as the number of times the term appears in each book. A brief description of each book, entitled " About the Book," gives some rudimentary additional information, including a list of the words and terms that appear with most frequency in the book. It sometimes provides links to buy the book online and identifies libraries where the book can be found.4 The search tool permits a researcher to identify those books, out of millions, that do, as well as those that do not, use the terms selected by the researcher. Google notes that this identifying information instantaneously supplied would otherwise not be obtainable in lifetimes of searching.
No advertising is displayed to a user of the search function. Nor does Google receive...
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