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The Authors Guild, Inc. v. HathiTrust

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
755 F.3d 87 (2d Cir. 2014)


Thirteen universities created a repository for digital copies of all the books in their libraries. To manage the repository, the universities created HathiTrust (defendant). The HathiTrust Digital Library (HDL) contained text and image copies of every page of over three million books. The image copies included all original images, graphs, and spacing, but the text copies did not. Some of the books in the HDL catalogue were still under copyright protection. The HDL allowed its digital copies to be used in three ways: (1) the public could perform a key word search of any book, which would return results showing only the pages on which the phrase appeared and the number of times it appeared (none of the text in a book was ever returned); (2) patrons of member libraries could access the full text of any book if the patron had a certified print disability that prevented using physical books (examples include blindness and physical disabilities that prevent patrons from holding books or turning pages); (3) if an HDL member library originally owned a copy of a work, but the original copy was lost or stolen and could not be replaced at a fair price, the member library would provide patrons with access to an electronic copy. The Authors Guild, Incorporated (Authors Guild) (plaintiff) and other author associations sued HathiTrust and its members for copyright infringement. HathiTrust moved the district court for summary judgment, which was granted.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Parker, J.)

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