On July 6, 2012, members of the Library Copyright Alliance (LCA) (the American Library Association, Association of Research Libraries and Association of College and Research Libraries), together with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), filed a friend of the court brief (pdf) in Authors Guild v. HathiTrust, urging a federal court to find that the fair use doctrine permitted the creation of a valuable digital library. The brief argues four main points: that the HathiTrust Digital Library (HDL) is serving the public interest, that its tremendous public benefit tilts the analysis firmly in favor of fair use, that a legislative “fix” is both unnecessary and unworkable, and that the plaintiffs helped foster public reliance on the HathiTrust project, which the public should not be deprived of now.
For several years, the HathiTrust and its member libraries have worked to index and preserve digitized works from library collections to foster research, teaching, and learning. In their lawsuit, the Authors Guild, together with a few other author groups and individual authors, propose an extremely narrow view of the rights of libraries to engage in preservation and other core library functions. In their motion for judgment on the pleadings, the plaintiffs have asked the federal court to “mothball” HDL until Congress takes action. LCA members have filed in this case to defend the rights of all libraries, as well as the extraordinary value of the HathiTrust collection. This amicus brief follows a previous (pdf) one submitted by members of the LCA on April 20, 2012.