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Landmark HathiTrust Decision and the Implications for Research Libraries: ARL to Host Webcast

Washington, DC—The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) will host a webcast on Wednesday, October 24, 2012, from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. eastern time, to discuss the Authors Guild v. HathiTrust decision and the implications of this victory for research libraries. The webcast will be moderated by Brandon Butler, Director of Public Policy Initiatives at ARL, and will feature discussion from:


  • Jonathan Band, of policybandwidth, an expert in copyright law and the co-author of the Library Copyright Alliance amicus brief in the HathiTrust case

  • Peter Jaszi, Professor of Law at American University’s Washington College of Law, as well as co-facilitator of the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries and a member of the legal team that represented the National Federation of the Blind

  • Dan Goldstein, a partner at Brown, Goldstein & Levy, acts as counsel for the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) and has initiated a national legal campaign to ensure access to technology

  • Jason M. Schultz, Assistant Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic at the University of California Berkeley School of Law

Registration for this webcast is closed.

Video of this webcast was added to ARL’s YouTube channel on Oct. 26.


On October 10, 2012, Judge Harold Baer handed down a landmark fair use decision in theAuthors Guild v. HathiTrust case. The HathiTrust was created by university libraries as a collective storehouse for digitized works from their collections, including millions of volumes digitized in partnership with Google. In 2011, the Authors Guild sued the HathiTrust and several ARL member institutions claiming that they committed copyright infringement on a massive scale by using these digital scans for preservation, to power a search tool, and to provide accessible versions of books for print disabled patrons. The NFB intervened in the case to defend the accessibility aspect of the project. The Library Copyright Alliance filed an amicus brief on behalf of libraries, and a group of digital humanities scholars filed a brief in support of the search functionality enabled by the HathiTrust database.

In a striking victory for libraries and their users, Judge Baer rejected the Guild’s claims in the starkest possible terms, saying, “I cannot imagine a definition of fair use that would not encompass the transformative uses made by Defendants’ [mass digitization project] 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.”


For more information, contact:
Brandon Butler
Association of Research Libraries

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is a nonprofit organization of 125 research libraries in the US and Canada. Its mission is to influence the changing environment of scholarly communication and the public policies that affect research libraries and the diverse communities they serve. ARL pursues this mission by advancing the goals of its member research libraries, providing leadership in public and information policy to the scholarly and higher education communities, fostering the exchange of ideas and expertise, facilitating the emergence of new roles for research libraries, and shaping a future environment that leverages its interests with those of allied organizations. ARL is on the web at http://www.arl.org/.