On June 10, the U.S. Second Court of Appeals handed down its latest decision in the continuing legal battle between the HathiTrust and the Authors Guild, and it is good news for fair use advocates. A three judge panel largely confirmed the decision handed down in 2012, which found that the HathiTrust’s activities of digitizing books from its member libraries and increasing their discoverability by letting users search for key terms within titles are fair use. The court also upheld Baer’s finding that the Guild lacks standing to bring cases as an association, though individual members can do so.
Last November Judge Denny Chin dealt a blow to the lawsuit filed by publishers and the Author’s Guild against tech giant Google and its Google Books Service (GBS). Chin, of the 2nd Circuit U.S. Appeals Court, dismissed the case, which challenged the legality of GBS providing searchable PDFs of copyrighted works when Judge Denny. On Friday, April 11, the Guild filed an appeal in the case, marking the latest flareup in a long-running suit with major implications for copyright law in the U.S.
In what analysts are describing as a big win for scholars and libraries, federal circuit court judge Denny Chin today dismissed a lawsuit against Google brought by the Authors Guild claiming that the company had violated copyrights by digitizing millions of books and making short samples of the works available via its Google Books service. In the decision, Chin stated that Google Books provided “significant public benefits,” and that the digitized works were protected by the principle of fair use.
On Monday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit vacated Judge Denny Chin’s 2012 grant of class action status to the Authors Guild in its long-running suit against Google Books. The panel called the certification “premature.” It added that the court should first have decided on the merits of Google’s fair use defense, which, the court said, “will necessarily inform and perhaps moot our analysis of many class certification issues.”
On June 11, some 133 academic authors filed an amici curiae brief in the Authors Guild v. HathiTrust case, in support of the HathiTrust. (In October 2012, The Honorable Harold Baer, Jr., held that the HathiTrust’s mass digitization is fair use, but the Guild filed an appeal in November.) The brief distinguished their interest from that of the Guild’s members and pointed out that they are not only different, but diametrically opposed.
On November 8, the Authors Guild appealed the verdict in its case against the HathiTrust to the U.S. Court of Appeals Second Circuit. The Guild had filed suit against the Trust in 2011, alleging that the Trust’s digitization efforts constituted copyright infringement. However, on October 10, Judge Baer of the United States District Court Southern [...]
The Honorable Harold Baer, Jr., yesterday held that the HathiTrust’s mass digitization is fair use, in spite of the challenges raised in a lawsuit by the Author’s Guild and others, both associations and individual authors. Crucial to his reading of the case is Baer’s rejection of the plaintiff’s theory that section 108 of the copyright law prevents libraries claiming fair use as a defense.
Baer said in his opinion, “I cannot imagine a definition of fair use that would not encompass the transformative uses made by Defendants’ MDP, 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.”
The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit will allow Google to appeal the class action status of the seven-year old Google Inc. v. Authors Guild case, the court announced in an order this morning. Decertifying the case would force Author’s Guild members who dispute the digitization of their works to sue Google individually. Google has argued that many authors have benefited economically from its Google Books project, and whether a scan violated copyright or was protected under fair use doctrine should be determined on a case-by-case basis.
Highlighting a number of cases and rulings covering digital fair use— including the recent Georgia State ereserves verdict as well as Authors Guild vs. Google, Authors Guild vs. HathiTrust, and AIME vs. UCLA – the “Fair Use, Intellectual Property, and New Media” panel at the ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim, CA played to a standing-room only room eager for expert analysis on which direction the library fair use winds are blowing.
Google appealed Judge Denny Chin’s order granting the Authors Guild class certification in the ongoing litigation between the two over whether Google Books is fair use. In its filing, Google again raised the issue of “whether class plaintiffs seeking to stop alleged copyright infringement can adequately represent class members who benefit from the defendant’s conduct […]