Library Copyright Alliance files amicus in HathiTrust case

Last night the Library Copyright Alliance filed its amicus brief (PDF) in support of HathiTrust and its partners as they defend their district court victory on appeal in the Second Circuit.

In a 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, it is a research tool 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, and

  • libraries are “authorized entities” who can make accessible books available to the print disabled under the Chafee Amendment.

In the process, it responds to the Authors Guild’s extraordinarily crabbed reading of the Copyright Act, which would make basic library activities illegal and treat print disabled patrons as second class citizens.