Court: Google caches aren't copyright infringement

A Nevada federal court has ruled that the cached versions of Web pages that Google stores and offers as a part of many search results are not copyright infringement.

The case rose when an author sued the company for providing a version of a story that he had written, posted on his own Web site, and then removed. However, the court said that the author had not used an available Web setting on his page that would have prevented it from being archived.

The court also said that Google's cache amounts to fair use of the works being copied and transmitted, and the company's database qualifies for a "safe harbor" provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which protects databases, ISPs, and other online service providers that don't exert direct control over what content is posted against copyright liability.

The search engine has long offered Web publishers a way to opt out of the caches if they don't want archived pages to show up in the Google caching system, but has nevertheless drawn criticism from newspaper sites and others who charge for access to older material.

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    John Borland
    covers the intersection of digital entertainment and broadband.
     

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