A Digital Library of Alexandria: Google Books Remains Fair Use

simple-design-cute-home-library-shelving-units-home-depot-shelving-home-library-shelving-highlights-790x592By Sam Hampton

In the latest development in a decade long case, the Second Circuit ruled on October 16th that Google Books was fair use and did not violate book copyrights. The service provides fully searchable digital versions of over 20 million books. This tally includes copyrighted work; additionally, the full text of many books in the public domain that have been digitized. The service works with the Google Books Library Project, which partners with major libraries to digitize the volumes; the project’s goal is “to create a comprehensive, searchable, virtual card catalog of all books in all languages.”

The lawsuit was initiated in September 2005 by a number of copyright owners, as well as the Authors Guild, a nonprofit that supports authors. Google defended its service under the fair use doctrine. The District Court granted summary judgment in Google’s favor in November 2013, from which the appeal followed. Continue reading

Fight for Your (Legal) Rights: The Beastie Boys Vindicate Their Copyright Interests, Again

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Photo Credit: Stereogum

By Jeffrey Echert

It’s smooth legal sailing again for the Beastie Boys. Just last week, a federal court in New York handed down a decision in an infringement suit against Monster Energy. Monster had used five Beastie Boys songs in a promotional video for a snowboarding competition, as well as “RIP MCA” in a font similar to the Monster logo (Beastie Boys’ member MCA, real name Adam Yauch, died in 2012). The Beastie Boys brought suit, claiming infringement of copyright and that Monster falsely implied an endorsement by the Beastie Boys. After hearing extensive testimony from Adam Horovitz and Michael Diamond, the jury awarded the Boys 1.7 million dollars in damages.

We’ve previously reported on legal issues surrounding the potential appropriation of the Beastie Boys’ catalogue before—last year, toy company GoldieBlox sued the Boys, hoping to receive a declaratory judgment in its favor for the use of the song “Girls” in an advertisement. The case settled in March of this year. As part of the settlement agreement, GoldieBlox made a public apology and donated a percentage of its revenues to charities that support STEM education for girls. Continue reading