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

  • December 15, 2017

    Today's Headlines

    HEADLINES: Today's Top Higher Education News

    Inside Higher Ed reports on a pair of new surveys suggesting that despite concerns about prices, most Americans (and many Republicans) believe a postsecondary education is essential. In other news, The Associated Press writes that Republican...

  • Technology

    December 15, 2017

    Grid with circles

    FCC Repeals Net Neutrality Rules

    The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted Thursday to approve a proposal to repeal its net neutrality rules, which uphold the principle that all traffic on the internet should be treated equally. Today’s announcement followed a contentious...

  • Institutional Effectiveness

    December 13, 2017

    Ones and Zeros

    ACE Paper Explores Use of Data Analytics to Spur Student, Institutional Success

    ​Colleges and universities have begun to embrace the need for data-informed decision making to help drive institutional innovation and improvement, but more progress is needed before the analytics revolution takes firm root in higher education.

  • Higher Education Act

    December 13, 2017

    Capitol Building

    House Committee Approves Higher Education Act Reauthorization Bill

    The Promoting Real Opportunity, Success, and Prosperity through Education Reform (PROSPER) Act now goes to the full House for consideration.

  • Leading Internationalization

    December 13, 2017

    Globe

    ACE’s 2018 Internationalization Collaborative: Leading in a World of Growing Complexity

    Senior international officers and other campus leaders can register now for the 2018 ACE/AIEA Internationalization Collaborative, the annual forum for sharing ideas for advancing internationalization. It will take place in Washington, DC, on Feb....

 

 Related Content