Several weeks ago, the Author’s Guild today filed an appeal of a fair use decision so sensible and important that even the publishing community has acquiesced to the district court’s analysis. Judge Chin’s November opinion found that Google’s scanning of copyrighted books was permissible so long as Google only made brief snippets of the books available to those searching the massive Google Books library.  Not surprisingly, he found that making books findable and searchable in an online repository was likely to increase book sales, as long as entire books could not be downloaded for free by users.  As an author who frequently invokes the fair use doctrine to justify my creative decisions, I find it difficult to understand why the Authors Guild has decided to challenge Judge Chin’s ruling.  I certainly want consumers using Google books to find my novels! And as a copyright scholar, I can do nothing but praise the court’s careful analysis of the 4-factor fair use test.  In third grade, we were all taught that copying is wrong, but as we mature, we come to understand that some copying is good . . . well, at least most of us . . .

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