On June 3, the Library Copyright Alliance (LCA) filed an amicus brief (PDF) in support of HathiTrust and its partners as they defend their district court victory on appeal in the Second Circuit. LCA consists of three major library associations—the American Library Association, ARL, and the Association of College and Research Libraries—that collectively represent over 300,000 information professionals and thousands of libraries of all kinds throughout the US and Canada.
In the powerful brief, LCA counsel Jonathan Band explains that the HathiTrust Digital Library’s digitization of over 10 million books for preservation, non-consumptive research, and accessibility is lawful; indeed, the Digital Library is a research tool and an accessible resource of world-historical significance that the court should welcome. The brief makes three core arguments:
- The HathiTrust project is a fair use consistent with library best practices.
- The specific exceptions favoring libraries do not preempt fair use.
- Libraries are “authorized entities” who can make accessible books available to the print disabled under the Chafee Amendment.
In the process, the brief responds to the Authors Guild’s extraordinarily crabbed reading of the Copyright Act, which would make basic library activities illegal and treat patrons with print disabilites as second-class citizens.
The LCA brief is one of 12 amicus briefs filed this week in support of HathiTrust and its partner libraries. Other filers are:
- American Association of Universities, American Council on Education, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, and several other higher ed associations
- University of Illinois, Michigan State University, University of Minnesota, University of Nebraska, Northwestern University, Pennsylvania State University, and Purdue University
- Large numbers of disability-rights organizations and advocates, including the American Council of the Blind, the National Association of the Deaf, and the Disability Rights Legal Center, as well Marilyn Chafee, an advocate for dyslexic persons and daughter-in-law of Senator John Chafee (author of the Chafee Amendment)
- Benetech (Bookshare) and Learning Ally, the leading providers of accessible audio and e-books (brief prepared pro bono by Brandon Butler)
- 133 academic authors
- Over 100 digital humanities scholars
- 22 law professor experts in disability law
- Six leading medical historians
- Stanford University
- Emory Vaccine Center
- Center for Democracy and Technology, Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Public Knowledge
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/.