Library Copyright Alliance speaks out against Authors Guild’s decision to file a lawsuit against HathiTrust and partners

The Library Copyright Alliance (LCA), whose members include the American Library Association, the Association of Research Libraries, and the Association of College and Research Libraries, today released a statement (pdf) in response to the Authors Guild’s decision to file a lawsuit, Authors Guild, Inc. et al. v. HathiTrust et al., against HathiTrust and its research library partners.

LCA Statement on Authors Guild, Inc. et al. v. HathiTrust et al.

We are deeply disappointed by the Authors Guild’s decision to file a lawsuit, Authors Guild, Inc. et al. v. HathiTrust et al., against HathiTrust and its research library partners. The case has no merit, and completely disregards the rights of libraries and their users under the law, especially fair use. The HathiTrust and its partners have assembled an unprecedented digital resource that will ensure secure, long-term preservation of nearly 10 million volumes held in member library collections. The majority of these works are not available commercially and will disappear completely if not for library stewardship. We applaud the modest steps HathiTrust and its partners have taken to foster those “orphan” works whose owners have abandoned them to library care. The HathiTrust adds significant value to library collections in support of teaching, research, and learning, while respecting the law. It is deplorable that eight authors and three special interest groups are trying to dismantle this invaluable resource out of a misplaced fear of the digital future. We are confident the court will not look kindly on this shortsighted and ill-conceived lawsuit. Authors Guild President Scott Turow wrote earlier this year, “I count myself as one of millions of Americans whose life simply would not be the same without the libraries that supported my learning.” 1 It is a shame that the Authors Guild fails to understand what Mr. Turow expressed so well, the vital role that libraries play in our cultural ecosystem.

1 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/scott-turow/letthemeatcakeattitude-th_b_823609.html

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8 comments on “Library Copyright Alliance speaks out against Authors Guild’s decision to file a lawsuit against HathiTrust and partners
  1. Whether the complaint as filed by the Authors Guild ‘has no merit’, and as the legal principle for the digitization of millions of books still under copyright is totally without precedence, if the case as stated above TOTALLY disregards the rights of libraries, users, etc., one might think the ALA and the Hathi Trust would welcome the opportunity to prove the merits of their actions and establish new legal precedents for Sections 107 and 108 of the US Copyright Act in such a slam-dunk case.

  2. vashti says:

    This has an odd ring to it; not as professional as I would have expected from something as respectable-sounding as the “Library Copyright Alliance (LCA), whose members include the American Library Association, the Association of Research Libraries, and the Association of College and Research Libraries…”

    It sounds suspiciously like you’re protesting too much (or maybe the response was written by a 20 year old).

  3. crussell says:

    Of course, it is unlikely for the majority of copyright cases to go to trial, but if this one does, we would indeed welcome a ruling in our favor!

  4. Robert Ross says:

    Copyright owners have rights too, and those rights need to be honored even for works considered “orphaned.”

    Pursuing the goal of making our libraries’ collections available all over the world via digital corpora is more than wonderful, and will contribute greatly to our global community. However, such pursuits should respect not only the law(s), but the efforts and contributions of the creators and rights owners of the works within those collections.

    Hiding behind “Fair Use” is common among some organization’s operating on the Internet. It is no less contumelious, perhaps it is even more so, for our nation’s libraries and universities to do the same.

  5. doug says:

    Can you guys not involve the automotive industry.
    My dad works in oil he’ll have no job if gas is “fair use”

  6. doug says:

    I write this post:
    “Can you guys not involve the automotive industry.
    My dad works in oil he’ll have no job if gas is “fair-use”.
    And it’s delete it, seriously?
    No freedom of speech either then.
    “Libraries” sure have changed.

  7. I have yet to see a library-interest response to the Authors Guild complaint that deals with US Copyright Law Section 108(g) …

    But hey! Here’s a peak at what the international library community sees as reasonable for their future activities:
    http://www.ifla.org/files/clm/publications/tlib.pdf

  8. Doug – both your comments are in tact and unedited. This blog does not engage in censorship and we only remove comments based on violations of our clearly-posted comment guidelines.

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