Washington, DC—On August 1, 2012, the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) joined other members of the Library Copyright Alliance (LCA)—the American Library Association (ALA) and the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL)—and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) to file a friend-of-the-court brief (PDF) in Authors Guild v. Google, Inc., a lawsuit in which authors allege that Google violated copyright by scanning books to create Google Book Search (GBS), a search tool similar to its Internet search engine. The LCA/EFF brief defends GBS as permissible under the doctrine of fair use, a flexible right that allows copying without payment or permission where the public benefit strongly outweighs the harm to individual rightsholders.
The LCA/EFF brief argues that Google Book Search is tremendously beneficial to the public, that this public benefit tilts the analysis firmly in favor of fair use, that a legislative “fix” is both unnecessary and unworkable, and that the Authors Guild should not be permitted to shut down Google Book Search after encouraging public reliance on the tool for years.
The members of LCA have long had a commitment to supporting libraries’ interest in the Google Book Search litigation, including the proposed (and now rejected) settlement agreement. For more information, including past guides to understanding the settlement, see the ALA Washington Office GBS blog and the ARL Google Books resource page.
The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is a nonprofit organization of 126 research libraries in the US and Canada. Its mission is to influence the changing environment of scholarly communication and the public policies that affect research libraries and the diverse communities they serve. ARL pursues this mission by advancing the goals of its member research libraries, providing leadership in public and information policy to the scholarly and higher education communities, fostering the exchange of ideas and expertise, facilitating the emergence of new roles for research libraries, and shaping a future environment that leverages its interests with those of allied organizations. ARL is on the web at http://www.arl.org/.
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