This morning brought good news to Google, libraries, and all of us who rely on fair use: Google Books, and the scanning project to create it, is a fair use! U.S. District Judge Denny Chin issued a decision in the 8-year legal battle between the Authors Guild and Google, with Google being the decisive winner. Judge Chin specifically noted that the libraries who partnered with Google to have their holdings scanned for the Google Books corpus may also make use of those scans (the libraries got their own local copies of their scanned volumes, which is where the backbone of HathiTrust evolved). And because there was a decision rather than a settlement, it creates opportunities for others to make similar uses by looking to this ruling for guidance. Although the Authors Guild has expressed its intent to appeal (frustrating, but not surprising; it is also appealing last year’s summary judgement in its separate case against HathiTrust), this is yet another big win in the fair use column!

For more:
Ars Technica
New York Times