The U.S. Supreme Court has decided not to take on a legal challenge to Google's book-scanning project by a group of authors. That means a previous ruling by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Google's favor will stand.
Google first began scanning millions of books in 2004 so that users can search their text for words and phrases. In 2005, a group of writers, along with the Authors Guild filed a lawsuit against Google, stating that Google's efforts went beyond the fair-use doctrine, depriving them of revenues from their works.
The case was dismissed in 2013, but the authors appealed the decision. According to Reuters:
Google argued that the effort would actually boost book sales by making it easier for readers to find works, while introducing them to books they might not otherwise have seen. The company made digital copies of more than 20 million books, according to court papers. Some publishers agreed to allow Google to copy their works.
In the end, today's decision by the Supreme Court not to hear the case means that the lower court ruling, made in October 2015, will stand as the final word on the matter:
A unanimous three-judge appeals court panel said the case "tests the boundaries of fair use," but found Google's practices were ultimately allowed under the law.