On September 12, the Authors Guild, the Australian Society of Authors, the Union Des Écrivaines et des Écrivains Québécois (UNEQ), and eight individual authors filed suit against HathiTrust, the University of Michigan, the University of California, the University of Wisconsin, Indiana University, and Cornell University for copyright infringement. At issue are more than 10 million scans contained in HathiTrust's collection, as well as HathiTrust's "Orphan Works Project." The Authors Guild has argued that storing and providing access to the digital scans is illegal, while advocates for HathiTrust and participating universities argue that digitizing and providing access to the sources is critical to the future of research and scholarship.
In this web seminar, Jonathan Band, a legal consultant and frequent author on intellectual property issues, will provide an overview of the case to date, and James Grimmelmann, an associate professor at New York Law School, will discuss the legal questions on which the Authors Guild v. HathiTrust lawsuit will turn, as well as the potential implications for universities and libraries. There are reasons why the court may never reach the substantive copyright issues, and reasons why even if it does there might not be much impact on other libraries. But the case is still worth watching, Grimmelmann says, because it could significantly influence libraries' digitization and digital distribution practices.