Last Updated on September 14, 2011, 8:18 pm ET
We are deeply disappointed by the Authors Guild’s decision to file a lawsuit, Authors Guild, Inc. et al. v. Hathitrust et al., against HathiTrust and its research library partners. The case has no merit, and completely disregards the rights of libraries and their users under the law, especially fair use. The HathiTrust and its partners have assembled an unprecedented digital resource that will ensure secure, long-term preservation of nearly 10 million volumes held in member library collections. The majority of these works are not available commercially and will disappear completely if not for library stewardship. We applaud the modest steps HathiTrust and its partners have taken to foster those “orphan” works whose owners have abandoned them to library care. The HathiTrust adds significant value to library collections in support of teaching, research, and learning, while respecting the law. It is deplorable that eight authors and three special interest groups are trying to dismantle this invaluable resource out of a misplaced fear of the digital future. We are confident the court will not look kindly on this shortsighted and ill-conceived lawsuit. Authors Guild President Scott Turow wrote earlier this year, “I count myself as one of millions of Americans whose life simply would not be the same without the libraries that supported my learning.” It is a shame that the Authors Guild fails to understand what Mr. Turow expressed so well, the vital role that libraries play in our cultural ecosystem.