Authors Guild Sues HathiTrust and 5 Universities Over Digitized Books

The Authors Guild, the Australian Society of Authors, a Canadian writers’ union, and eight individual authors are suing HathiTrust and five universities for copyright infringement, the guild announced on Monday afternoon. At issue are millions of scanned books held in the HathiTrust digital repository. The complaint, filed in federal court in New York, also names the University of Michigan, the University of California, the University of Wisconsin, Indiana University, and Cornell University. “The universities obtained from Google unauthorized scans of an estimated seven million copyright-protected books, the rights to which are held by authors in dozens of countries,” the guild said. It also questioned the security of the digital files in the repository. “These books, because of the universities’ and Google’s unlawful actions, are now at needless, intolerable digital risk,” said the Authors Guild president, Scott Turow. HathiTrust had no immediate response to the lawsuit, which was filed not long before a September 15 status conference to settle the fate of a lawsuit brought by the guild and others against Google over its book-scanning project.

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