U.S. District Court Judge Harold Baer, Jr. ruled against the Authors Guild in favor of the HathiTrust, a massive digital archive of library materials converted from print that is co-owned and managed by a partnership of more than 60 academic institutions. The judge’s decision dismisses the case and upholds the library’s digitization practices and use of in-copyright materials as lawful and noninfringing.
Described as a “landmark in copyright” law, the decision allows libraries to digitize entire works in their collections, even those under copyright, and, in the specific case of the HathiTrust, to use the digital content they create to enhance the research process with full-text search. This does not mean that libraries are now allowed to digitize copyrighted books and unrestrictedly make them available in their entirety to the world. It simply provides much needed legal boundaries for libraries wishing to offer researchers new ways to find materials in their collections.
The lawsuit, which was filed in September 2011, alleged that the University of Michigan, HathiTrust, and four HathiTrust participating libraries—the University of California, the University of Wisconsin, Indiana University and Cornell University—had infringed copyright in their book digitization projects. Among other things, the Authors Guild sought to impound the in-copyright works from HathiTrust, which would have made those works unavailable for transformative uses such as full-text searching, data mining for research purposes, and access for readers who have print disabilities.
The ruling highlights the “transformative” aspects of this mass digitization project, such as the enabling of text mining. In what way does digitization “transform” printed books? Find out more here: http://www.newsroomamerica.com/story/320779.html