In a legal battle that has been going on for eleven years now, an eternity for internet based companies, Google has emerged the final victor with the US Supreme Court refusing to hear the case and letting the Second Circuit decision stand.
The Authors Guild, which has long held that the Google book scanning practice violated its copyrights, is understandably upset but no longer has any venue to appeal in the United States. "We believed then and we believe now that authors should be compensated when their work is copied for commercial purposes" Authors Guild president Roxana Robinson said in comment on the decision.
The Second Circuit decision had agreed with Google that their Google Books service fell within the bounds of Fair Use and that there was no need to compensate authors when archiving their works. Google's comment on the case was "We are grateful that the court has agreed to uphold the decision of the Second Circuit which concluded that Google Books is transformative and consistent with copyright law."
Google Books has been in operation since 2004, and the lawsuit in question began a year afterwards when the Authors Guild sued in 2005. The service allows users to search through its database of millions of books for extracts and select pages, but does not allow a user to read through an entire text.