Google scans a bunch of books and makes the text searchable on the web. As Google doesn’t make the entire book, or even large portions of the book, available to searchers, a court holds this doesn’t violate the authors’ copyrights. This was ruled to be fair use, beneficial to all of society.
This decision is as technical as it is important. Google can do it because doing so make the books available to researchers who might not otherwise find them This does not permit you to digitize and share a copyrighted work.
“Google Books Challenge Is Rejected,” Wall Street Journal, November 15, 2013 B4 http://on.wsj.com/1dAPKnj