Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

 Email  Share  Print

Appeals Court Rules HathiTrust Digital Library Is Fair Use

June 11, 2014

laptop, book and glasses

 

​The creation of a full-text searchable book database is a ‘‘quintessentially transformative use’’ of a copyrighted work, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled yesterday, and therefore it is lawful to copy and store the books electronically without the permission of the authors and publishers.

ACE submitted a brief last year in the case Authors Guild v. HathiTrust Digital Library, in which the Authors Guild charged that the HathiTrust digital repository was violating copyright by making some of its members’ work freely available.

HathiTrust is a partnership of 80 major research institutions and libraries that have collaborated to digitize their collections to build a comprehensive online archive.

In addition to creating an unprecedented resource for scholarly research, one of the goals is to enable the digital archive to be accessible to persons with print disabilities. The university libraries (University of Michigan, University of Wisconsin System, Indiana University, University of California and Cornell University (NY) are the HathiTrust institutions involved) have digitized their collections for preservation, searching and use by the visually impaired.

The appeals court decision also addressed this aspect of the HathiTrust archive, ruling that it is permissible to distribute the books in alternative forms to people with disabilities.

The consensus of higher education copyright experts is that this case is crucial for the future of distance learning and the digital age in education. According to ACE General Counsel Ada Meloy, a reversal would have been a serious defeat for the doctrine of fair use and the advancement of technology in higher education. 

Other ACE News

  • May 22, 2015

    Today's Headlines

    HEADLINES: Today's Top Higher Education News

    In today’s headlines, The Wall Street Journal looks at what presidential hopefuls are proposing be done to curb college costs and reduce student debt. And while the Regents of the University of California are embracing Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget...

  • Innovative Practices

    May 22, 2015

    alternative credit project

    Calling All Proposals for ACE Alternative Credit Consortium

    Institutions demonstrating a strong commitment to access and attainment, particularly those serving nontraditional students, are invited to submit proposals to join the second wave of ACE’s alternative credit consortium.

  • Law and the Courts

    May 22, 2015

    Library with Colorful Books

    Access and Diversity Collaborative Issues Syllabus

    Over the last decade, the College Board’s Access & Diversity Collaborative—working in partnership with ACE, EducationCounsel and a numerous higher education institutions and organizations—has developed a significant body of work designed to assist...

  • Institutional Capacity

    May 20, 2015

    Register Now for ACE's Advancing to the Presidency

    Advancing to the Presidency, a two-day workshop scheduled for Oct.19-20 in Alexandria, VA, helps senior admnistrators prepare for the transition to the next level.

  • Institutional Capacity

    May 20, 2015

    It’s Not Too Early to Think About Applying for the Next Class of ACE Fellows

    As the ACE Fellows Program concludes its landmark 50th anniversary this academic year, it’s not too early to start thinking about applying to be a member of the 2016-17 class of the ACE Fellows Program.

 

 Related Content