The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday ended a decade-long battle over Google Inc.’s massive bookscanning project, declining to take up an appeal by authors who claimed the company violated copyright law “on an epic scale.”

The justices denied certiorari in Authors Guild v. Google, leaving in place a ruling last year by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit that said Google’s project was permissible. The appeals court decision invoked the “fair use” doctrine, which permits some “socially beneficial” use of published works—such as news reporting or research—that would otherwise constitute copyright infringement.

Copyright expert Jamie Bischoff, senior counsel to Ballard Spahr in Philadelphia, said Monday the court’s action is “pretty definitive” and unsurprising, especially because the author of the Second Circuit opinion that was upheld was Judge Pierre Leval, a copyright expert. Before joining the bench in 1993, Judge Leval wrote an influential law review article on the fair-use doctrine and the “transformative” standard.

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