Judge Hands HathiTrust Digital Repository a Win in Fair-Use Case

Academic libraries’ indexing of digitized works counts as fair use. So says the federal judge overseeing a major copyright-infringement lawsuit brought last year by the Authors Guild against the HathiTrust digital repository and its university partners.

At stake was the uses the libraries could make of millions of scanned books. “I cannot imagine a definition of fair use that would not encompass the transformative uses” made by the defendants, Judge Harold Baer, of the U.S. District Court in New York, wrote in a ruling issued late Wednesday.

James Grimmelmann, a professor of law at New York Law School, observed on his blog, The Laboratorium: “The opinion doesn’t even make it seem like a close case. On every substantive copyright issue, HathiTrust won.”

For more on this story, see a Chronicle news analysis.

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