The Internet Reacts: Hathi Trust vs. the Author’s Guild

HathiTrust logo
HathiTrust logo from MLibrary CC BY 2.0

I was pleasantly surprised last week to see an email that the judge in the Author’s Guild case against several universities (U of M and the Hathi Trust included) had ruled, quite in favor of our efforts, it seems. Since then there has been a flurry of activity on Twitter (check out @HathiTrust and #AGvHT), and tons of media coverage. I thought I’d consolidate some of the responses to the ruling and how other organizations are  reacting, for your ready reference!

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is hosting a free webinar covering the decision, tomorrow, Wednesday October 24th, from 2 – 3 pm EST. Moderated by ARL’s Director of Public Policy Initiatives, Brandon Butler, the webinar will feature discussion from:

  • Jonathan Band, of policybandwidth, an expert in copyright law and the co-author of the Library Copyright Alliance amicus brief in the HathiTrust case
  • Peter Jaszi, Professor of Law at American University’s Washington College of Law, as well as co-facilitator of the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries and a member of the legal team that represented the National Federation of the Blind
  • Dan Goldstein, a partner at Brown, Goldstein & Levy, acts as counsel for the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) and has initiated a national legal campaign to ensure access to technology
  • Jason M. Schultz, Assistant Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic at the University of California Berkeley School of Law

Register for the webinar here.

And now the consolidation of responses!

From the University Record, Judge Baer’s ruling “upholds the library’s digitization practices and use of in-copyright materials as lawful and noninfringing.” Search indexing is also held up as fair use, and Publisher’s Weekly writes the “HathiTrust ruling could well become a landmark in copyright. The case is not yet over, and future cases could reinterpret or limit it in important ways. But it landed with a big splash, and its ripples could reach far indeed.”

If you’re legally inclined, you can read the full opinion here.

The Library Copyright Alliance comments on the decision.
An infographic (think combo timelines/family tree) on the Google Books litigation from policybandwith & ARL.

An incisive overview from New York Law School’s James Grimmelman, published soon after the decision.

The Chronicle of Higher Education weighs in with posts to its opinions blog on universities as “vast copy machines,” and its technology section on how this decision could pave the way for expanded roles for digital libraries.

Publisher’s Weekly summarized what the decision means to various groups.

Even The Atlantic weighed in!

A key part of the ruling was establishing that access to students with print disabilities was transformative use, and is highlighted in this post from the Global Alliance on Accessible Technologies & Environments.

If that isn’t enough reading for you, HathiTrust itself has compiled reactions on Storify (and if you’ve yet to see Storify, head over just to see the next big thing in digital curation).

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