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Google can continue with digitized online library

A US appeals court has ruled Google can continue to digitize millions of books as the judges say no copyright violations are involved. Authors, who first challenged the firm a decade ago, will not be amused.

The 2nd US Circuit Court in Manhattan ruled Friday Google was not violating any copyright laws by digitizing books for its massive online library. The Authors Guild and various other writers challenged the company in 2005, contending that the digital book project might potentially eat into their profits.

But the court rejected the arguments of the plaintiffs that the Google Books program would affect their earnings by allowing readers free access to parts or snippets of the books in question.

The judges said the plaintiffs failed to show any material proof of loss in the protracted dispute.

Good for hackers?

"The pubic display of text is limited, and the revelations do not provide a significant market substitute for the protected aspects of the originals," the court commented.

The judges reasoned that Google would only make available information about the books, and only snippets from them, without allowing access to substantial parts of the books.

Authors had also claimed Google's scans would make it easier for hackers to make the books freely or cheaply available on the Internet.

But the Manhattan court ruled the scanning project did not expose writers "to an unreasonable risk of loss of copyright value through incursions of hackers."

hg/sri (AP, AFP)

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