Google has won a significant victory in its quest to digitize all the books in the world to create history's largest online library.
A U.S. federal judge in New York tossed out a lawsuit last week against the internet giant that claimed it was violating copyright laws by scanning books without the permission of the writers.
The lawsuit was seeking $750 for each of the more than $20 million copyrighted books that Google has already scanned. The company estimated the damages would have exceeded $3 billion.
In taking Google's side, U.S. District Judge Denny Chin argued that Google Books "provides significant public benefits." Related links
"It advances the progress of the arts and sciences, while maintaining respectful consideration for the rights of authors and other creative individuals, and without adversely impacting the rights of copyright holders."
The originators of the lawsuit, the Authors Guild, plan to appeal the decision. Some legal analysts expect the legal battle to end up in the U.S. Supreme Court.
Authors Guild executive director Paul Aiken maintains that Google is exploiting writers.
"Google made unauthorized digital editions of nearly all of the world's valuable copyright-protected literature and profits from displaying those works," he said in a statement following the legal decision.-with files from The Associated Press