Is Fair Use Actually Fair? Analyzing Fair Use and the Potential For Compulsory Licensing in Authors Guild v. Google

May 2, 2016

As books are becoming electronic, people are now conducting more research online instead of venturing into bookstores and libraries. The number of bookstores in the nation is declining as people replace the relationship they once had with these stores with online sources. Particularly, in services such as Google Books, people use search engines to browse books in the same manner they would as if they were in a store. The lawsuit between Authors Guild and Google has been ongoing for over a decade, and the case largely turns on the question of fair use. However, fair use in certain situations fails by putting an undue burden on authors to help benefit the general public. Therefore, there needs to be an alternate legal avenue in place to address this problem. This Recent Development argues that, in light of preserving the access of information to the public, the law should be amended to allow for compulsory licensing so that information may be widely dispersed while being sensitive to the significant contributions of Google and the Authors Guild.