All’s fair in the Google Books Case; so says Judge Denny Chin who has issued a landmark ruling in the eight-year case brought by the Authors Guild. Of all those either relieved or surprise to learn a decision – at long last – has come in this case, none may be more surprised – and relieved – than Publishers Weekly senior writer Andrew Albanese who has followed the legal battle since the first shot was fired in 2005.

“In what can be described as a ringing endorsement, Judge Chin devoted much of his ruling to the benefits of Google’s scanning program, while bolstering the concept of fair use,” Albanese tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally. “At the same time, he leveled something of a rebuke to the Authors Guild.”

As Albanese recalled, the Authors Guild brought its suit in the aftermath of the infamous Napster case, which shook the music recording business to its core and left other media businesses thinking they could be next.

“But at some point, the publishers and authors needed to realize that their business was not in harms’ way,” Albanese says. “All the while that the Guild were focused on Google’s use of these out-of-print books, I believe they took their eye off the ball—Amazon, who was preparing to take advantage of their frontlist e-books.”

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