NEW YORK - Google has taken a major legal step forward in its effort to create the world's largest online library.
A federal judge in New York has ruled that Google wasn't violating copyright laws when it scanned millions of books without the permission of those who wrote them.
The 28-page decision by U.S. District Judge Denny Chin short-circuits a lawsuit filed by the Authors Guild against Google in 2005.
The writers claimed Google was not making "fair use" of copyright material by offering searchable snippets of works in its online library. The lawsuit sought $750 for each of the more than 20 million copyright books Google has already copied.
That could have cost Google more than $3 billion dollars.
The Authors Guild plans to appeal the ruling.