Fair Use v. Copyright Infringement

CNET News. com published an article last week suggesting the United States is falling behind when it comes to protecting intellectual property rights on the Internet. The article’s author, Charles Cooper, apparently supports a European court’s recent decision to order Google to remove news summaries and text links to newspaper articles by a group of Belgium regional publishers from its website. Further, Cooper contends that Google’s actions are similar to walking into a bookstore, scooping up a bunch of books, and leaving without paying. While Cooper doesn’t seem to consider the concept of Fair Use in his article, the people at TechDirt certainly see it as a viable rationale for Google’s actions.

Of course this is not the first time Google has faced a court order like this. In response to a lawsuit filed by Agence France Presse (AFP), Google began removing AFP content from its Google News Service in March of last year. Further, Google Book Search, a tool that makes books searchable and provides excerpts online, has also been the subject of litigation involving the principles of fair use and copyright infringement. For more information about copyright infringement and other intellectual property issues, peruse the Intellectual Property section of our blog.