Recently, the Southern District of New York granted
defendants summary judgment in a copyright case attacking the HathiTrust
Digital Library (HDL). The HDL, which houses digitized works from university
libraries, is used for: (1) full-text searches; (2) preservation; and (3) to
provide access for people with certified print disabilities. The court determined that defendants' present
application of the HDL is protected by fair use. Authors Guild,
Inc. v. Hathitrust, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 146169 (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 10, 2012) [enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers].
Early in its opinion, the court cited the intervenors'
"eloquent oral argument" on where blind scholars stood before digitalization:
"Prior to the development of
accessible digital books, the blind could access print materials only if the
materials were converted to braille or if they were read by a human reader,
either live or recorded." ... Print-disabled individuals read digital books
independently through screen access software that allows text to be conveyed
audibly or tactilely to print-disabled readers, which permits them to access
text more quickly, reread passages, annotate, and navigate, just as a sighted
reader does with text.
Plaintiffs identified 116 works as to which they asserted
direct ownership of the copyrights and alleged that defendants had copied the
works. Defendants conceded that plaintiffs had established a prima facie case
of infringement as to some of these works. However, defendants moved for
summary judgment that there was no genuine issue of material fact as to the
In granting defendants summary judgment, the court stated:
they [the facts] fall safely
within the protection of fair use such that there is no genuine issue of
material fact. I cannot imagine a definition of fair use that would not
encompass the transformative uses made by Defendants' MDP [Mass Digitization
Project] and would require that I terminate this invaluable contribution to the
progress of science and cultivation of the arts that at the same time
effectuates the ideals espoused by the ADA.
Fair use was found from the following facts:
Sign in with your Lexis.com ID to access Copyright Law resources on Lexis.com or any of these Mathew Bender Copyright Law publications.
Click here to order Copyright Law
treatises/resources and Mathew Bender publications.
View the LexisNexis
Catalog of Legal and Professional Publications
here for a list of available LexisNexis eBooks.
Click here to learn more about
For more information about LexisNexis products and solutions connect with us through our corporate site.