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Supreme Court stands behind Google Books ruling

The US Supreme Court will not hear a challenge from a group of authors who believe Google's book-scanning project violates copyright law.

Michelle Starr Science editor
Michelle Starr is CNET's science editor, and she hopes to get you as enthralled with the wonders of the universe as she is. When she's not daydreaming about flying through space, she's daydreaming about bats.
Michelle Starr
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The US Supreme Court refused to hear a challenge from a group of authors who claim Google Books violates their copyright.

The New York-based trade group The Authors' Guild and several individual authors have been fighting Google Books since 2005, when it first brought the matter to the Supreme Court. In 2013, a US Circuit Judge dismissed the case, arguing that the service fell under fair use.

In October of last year, the Second US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the 2013 ruling. The judges noted that the books were not available in their entirety, and were therefore not a reasonable substitute for the original books.

"The price of this short-term public benefit may well be the future vitality of American culture," said the Authors' Guild's Mary Rasenberger in a statement.

Google said in a statement, "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. The product acts like a card catalog for the digital age by giving people a new way to find and buy books while at the same time advancing the interests of authors."

Updated 2:10 p.m. AEST: Added full statement from Google.