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Issue Brief: Second Circuit Court of Appeals Affirms Fair Use in Google Books Case

On October 16, 2015, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit unanimously affirmed the lower court’s fair use decision in Author’s Guild v. Google, also known as the “Google Books” case. Google, through its Library Project, made digital copies of tens of millions of books submitted to the project by libraries. Google then included these copies in a search index that displays “snippets” in response to search queries. The Second Circuit held that the copying of the books and the display of snippets is transformative and a fair use. Furthermore, Google’s provision of digital copies to its partner libraries that submitted the particular works is not an infringement.


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