HathiTrust Wins

By [Thursday, October 11th, 2012] at 10:27 am

Judge Baer has granted HathiTrust’s motion for summary judgment. In a 23-page opinion, he ruled in favor of HathiTrust and the print-disabled defendants on every substantive legal issue. The opinion concludes that search indexing and providing access to the print-disabled are both fair uses. An appeal is possible, but for now, the ruling marks a definitive judicial statement in favor of mass digitization.

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Class Certification Appeal Proceeds

By [Tuesday, August 14th, 2012] at 7:42 pm

In a brief order filed today, the Second Circuit agreed to hear Google’s appeal of class certification immediately. The order means that Google’s appeal of class certification will proceed in parallel with Judge Chin’s consideration of fair use.

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Summary Judgment Motions in HathiTrust

By [Wednesday, August 1st, 2012] at 6:53 pm

The parties have filed their complete sets of briefs in the HathiTrust case. Oral argument is scheduled for Monday, August 6 at 3:00 PM.

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Class Certification Granted

By [Thursday, May 31st, 2012] at 4:07 pm

Today, Judge Chin issued an opinion granting class certification. The Authors Guild lawsuit will proceed as a class action on behalf of:

All persons residing in the United States who hold a United States copyright interest in one or more Books reproduced by Google as part of its Library Project, who are either (a) natural persons who are authors of such Books or (b) natural persons, family trusts or sole proprietorships who are heirs, successors in interest or assigns of such authors.

The opinion also dismissed challenges to the Authors Guild, ASMP, and other organizations’ ability to represent their members in the lawsuit.

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Authors Guild Sues HathiTrust and Five Member Universities

By [Monday, September 12th, 2011] at 6:53 pm

The Authors Guild announced today that it had filed a lawsuit against the HathiTrust and five of its members, including the Universities of Michigan and California. The suit challenges the libraries’ use of the scans they have received from Google:

The universities obtained from Google unauthorized scans of an estimated 7 million copyright-protected books, the rights to which are held by authors in dozens of countries. The universities have pooled the unauthorized files in a repository organized by the University of Michigan called HathiTrust. In June, Michigan announced plans to permit unlimited downloads by its students and faculty members of copyright-protected works it deems “orphans” according to rules the school has established. Other universities joined in Michigan’s project in August.

The first set of so-called orphans, 27 works by French, Russian, and American authors, are scheduled to be released to an estimated 250,000 students and faculty members on October 13th. An additional 140 books, including works in Spanish, Yiddish, French, and Russian, are to be released starting in November.

The complaint seeks a declaration that the scanning and display of the works is illegal, and an injunction requiring the universities to stop.

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Universities John Orphan Works Effort; La Martiniere Joins Google Books

By [Friday, August 26th, 2011] at 5:38 pm

Four more universities have joined the orphan works effort spearheaded by the University of Michigan; they will make books identified as orphans available digitally to their own students, faculty, and affiliates.

Meanwhile, in France, the publisher La Martinière joined Hachette Livre in cutting a voluntary deal with Google for the scanning and sale of its books.

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Decision in Freelancers Lawsuit Spells Trouble for Google Books Settlement?

By [Thursday, August 18th, 2011] at 12:01 am

The Second Circuit issued a decision today in another copyright class-action settlement case with the ungainly caption of In re: Literary Works in Electronic Databases Copyright Litigation. The opinion rejected the settlement there because the class contained members with strongly diverging interests, depending on the strength of their copyright claims against the defendants. The court held that different groups of plaintiffs who had registered their works at different times needed separate lawyers. C.E. Petit of Scrivener’s Error believes that this bodes ill for the Google Books settlement, and I concur.

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Wal-Mart and Google Books

By [Thursday, July 28th, 2011] at 12:05 pm

What do Wal-Mart and Google Books have in common, beyond their immensity? This is the question raised by a new letter sent to the court by Robert Kunstadt and Ilaria Maggioni, who direct the court’s attention to the recent Supreme Court decision in Wal-Mart v. Dukes, which rejected a class of female employees of Wal-Mart. Because the employees were challenging Wal-Mart’s policy not to have a uniform policy on promotion decisions, the Court held, their claims weren’t sufficiently “common” to support a class action. Kunstadt and Maggioni argue that the class in Google Books is similar: not even suitable for litigation because the fair use issues affecting each author and book will be too dissimilar to be resolved in a single suit.

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Next Status Conference in September

By [Thursday, July 28th, 2011] at 12:01 pm

At the July 19 status conference, the parties said that they were negotiating towards an “opt-in” settlement. Judge Chin gave them an additional extension, until but suggested that if they did not report an agrement in principle by then, he would put the case on a fast pace towards trial. The next status conference will be September 15, at 11:00 AM.

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University of Michigan to Make Orphan Works Available

By [Thursday, June 23rd, 2011] at 12:32 pm

The University of Michigan has been studying which of the digitized books it holds are orphans. That project is described here, including the workflow process:

Note that two different people follow the same workflow for each volume, which is a built-in protection against making errors. We attempt to make contact with the potential copyright holder via two (and sometimes three) different ways. If we make contact with a potential rights holder and they assert that they are still in fact the rights holder for the work, it is not an orphan. If we can not make contact with a potential rights holder or the potential rights holder does not assert that she holds the rights, then only at that time do we consider the work an orphan.

Of special note is the fact that a list of potential orphans will be made available for 90 days before they are opened. If, at any time, a legitimate copyright holder approaches us we will remove their work from our pool of potential orphans (as it is no longer an orphan). In addition, if at any time after a work has been identified as an orphan and made readable to the U-M scholarly community a legitimate copyright holder approaches us, we will remove the copyright holder’s work from the program.

Now, for those books that have passed through this process and been categorized as “orphan,” the University library will make them available to University users and campus visitors:

Access to orphan works will be limited to U-M authenticated users and visitors to the campus libraries in Ann Arbor, and to works that the library holds in its print collection. In other words, the same population that can check out these works from the library’s print collection now will be able to read the digital copies from other locations.

According to John Wilkin, associate university librarian and executive director of HathiTrust, other institutions among the HathiTrust’s more than 50 partners, including the University of Wisconsin, are moving forward with similar plans to share digitized orphan works from their own collections.

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