The HathiTrust is a digital collection of millions of scanned books from sixty partner institutions. It allows limited uses of all content in the collection – including the searching of full texts for keywords, and access for disabled students in accessible formats. The Authors Guild sued, saying these uses deprived them of sales.
Judge Baer sided with the defendants, ruling that “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 [Americans With Disabilities Act].” (p.23)
The Authors’ Guild said in a statement: “We disagree with nearly every aspect of the court’s ruling. We’re especially disappointed that the court refused to address the universities’ “orphan works” program, which defendants have repeatedly promised to revive.”
The HathiTrust said in a statement: ” We are pleased that the court has recognized the importance of the work that libraries are performing to preserve the scholarly record and provide information and services to communities of scholars. We continue to believe that digitization and preservation of the scholarly record provides important benefits to current and future scholarship.”