Many Florida residents are so accustomed to finding whatever content they want through a simple Google search that they may forget that some of that content is protected by intellectual property laws. While there has been a fair amount of attention paid to illegally traded music and film, other media are being traded online as well. The law is still struggling with the place of traditional media on the Internet.

Nowhere is this struggle more apparent than it is with the ongoing litigation over Google Books. The service allows Google users to search the content of millions of books, which the Internet giant has scanned – either cover-to-cover or just in part – and put online without first obtaining permission from the copyright holders.

Numerous libraries, educational institutions and historical organizations have supported the service, arguing that Google Books promotes the spread of knowledge. After some litigation, an association of publishers reached a settlement with Google that allowed the service to go forward.

However, the Authors Guild has continued to fight Google’s plans. Just last November, a federal judge dismissed the organization’s lawsuit over the use of book excerpts in Google Books search results. The judge ruled that the use of small clips of text from the books in search results is permissible under the Fair Use doctrine of copyright law. The Authors Guild recently filed an appeal of that decision.

The entertainment industry, like so many other industries, has been rocked by the changes brought by the Internet. The players in the industry who are thriving today are the ones who have learned to adapt to these changes. Still, since the Internet and the law are constantly changing, it’s important for all those in the entertainment industry to keep up-to-date on technological changes and be prepared for changes in the law.

Source: CNET, “Authors Guild appeals decision in Google Books copyright suit,” Dara Kerr, Dec. 30. 2013