Wednesday, October 15, 2014

What the Supreme Court Didn't Say About eBooks

Dear Rich: I recently received a takedown notice for posting free eBooks. Why do publishers still hassle people now that the Supreme Court has said it's okay to digitize and scan books? Perhaps it occurred in a parallel universe ... but we don't find any caselaw from the Supreme Court that states it's okay to scan and distribute eBooks. Are you referring to this case in which a Court of Appeals held that it was fair use to digitize books for purposes of creating a database? That database was used for keyword searching; users could not read the books.
Bottom Line Dept. It would be difficult to justify the unauthorized scanning and distribution of whole eBooks as a fair use (unless for certain disabled uses) and we suggest that you obey the requests made by publishers lest you risk an assessment of damages based on willful infringement.