Intellectual Property » Appeals Court Oks Limited Digital Book Scanning

Appeals Court Oks Limited Digital Book Scanning

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June 18, 2014

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld most of a district court’s determination that an academic consortium’s digital archiving project constitutes fair use. The HathiTrust Digital Library, known as the HDL, had been sued by a number of authors and author organizations for copyright infringement. There are now at least 90 university partners in HathiTrust, and their digital archive includes more than 10 million books. A major stated purpose of the archive is to facilitate searches, and, significantly, it does not enable actual text retrieval of copyrighted works, but rather it displays the number of times and where a search term occurs. A client alert from the Proskauer Rose law firm details the case, noting that the court’s reasoning is likely to inform the Second Circuit’s anticipated decision in The Authors Guild Inc. et al. v. Google, Inc. In that case, the writers note, defendant Google Books displays “snippets” of the actual copyrighted text as part of its search results.

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