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.
The HathiTrust Digital Library will become The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA)’s single largest content hub, the two institutions announced on June 18. The metadata records associated with some 3,384,638 volumes (and growing daily) held by the HathiTrust will be accessible on the web at dp.la, and through the DPLA application programming interface (API). (The digitized volumes themselves will continue to reside in HathiTrust.)
From the DPLA Blog: The HathiTrust Digital Library will partner with the recently launched Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) to expand discovery and use of HathiTrust’s public domain and other openly available content.
Rarely are defendants in a dispute settled out of court enthusiastic about the remedies they’re required to supply. But Elizabeth Dupuis, UC Berkeley Associate University Librarian and Director, Doe/Moffitt Libraries, told LJ that the library is excited by the prospect of unprecedented access. But then, this isn’t exactly your standard adversarial legal case. Print-disabled U.C. Berkeley students David Jaulus, Brandon King, and Tabitha Mancini, represented by Disability Rights Advocates (DRA), had entered into structured negotiations—a collaborative problem-solving alternative to litigation—with the university over their inability to access materials.
Digital information industry veteran Jeff Moyer last month launched Reveal Digital, a company that aims to use a lean, efficient funding model to digitize special collections and then make those collections open access. Reveal will treat digitization “as a service to libraries rather than a more traditional publishing or product approach,” he said.
While the verdict in the Authors Guild v. HathiTrust case has been widely hailed for its impact on how libraries can handle digitization for search, the findings on access for the print-disabled may lead to even more profound changes in practice. On an Association of Research Libraries (ARL) webcast, Daniel F. Goldstein, counsel of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), said the decision could revolutionize university services to their blind and print disabled students.
There are two things I know about elephants. First, they have long memories. Second, they are large, ponderous beasts, and getting an elephant to move where you want it to go takes care, patience, and agility. It is that legendary memory that caused the HathiTrust to name itself with the Hindi word for an elephant. As for the second characteristic of an elephant, it came in to my mind as I listened last month to reports about Hathi and marveled at the careful and meticulous work that is being done there to make public domain works accessible to the public. The elephant that is the HathiTrust is indeed being directed with patience and agility.