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Google clears key legal hurdle in building online library

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Google won the dismissal Thursday of a lawsuit by authors who accused it of digitally copying millions of books for an online library without permission.

U.S. Circuit Judge Denny Chin in Manhattan accepted Google's argument that its scanning of more than 20 million books for an electronic database, and making "snippets'' of text available for online searches, constituted fair use.

"In my view, Google Books provide significant public benefits," Chin wrote.

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The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had in July found that Chin prematurely certified a class of authors without first evaluating the fair use defense.

Chin had overseen the case as a trial judge and kept jurisdiction after joining the 2nd Circuit.