What might be one of the most important copyright decisions since Sony v. Universal Studios is the case against Google for scanning books. I’m guessing that Google is operating under the belief that the scanning of the books and then offering portions of it in digital format for searchers is transformative enough to escape copyright infringement.
Google’s position has been enhanced recently by the public statements of the University of Michigan’s head librarian, Paul Courant. Mr. Courant recently posted a response to a query by Siva Vaidhyanathan, a professor at the University of Virginia, regarding the legalities of Michigan’s participation with Google.
Vaidhyanathan calls it “audacious infringement of copyright.”
“I must say that I am troubled that the author of a very sensible book about copyright is so enthusiastic about trashing Google that he is willing to give up on the uses, notably scholarly uses, that are permitted in the higher-numbered sections of the Copyright Act,” writes Courant. “As my institution’s copyright lawyer says: ‘FAIR USE, it’s the law.’ And my institution believes that when we have Google digitize our holdings we do so under the law and in order to make uses that are not only lawful, but that are completely consistent with the undergirding purpose of copyright law.”
Via Ars Technica who has all the direct links and more interesting commentary.