Post Tagged with: "hathitrust"

Why It’s Time for a Canadian Digitization Strategy Based on Fair Dealing

Last year, the Writers’ Union of Canada and Union des Écrivaines et des Écrivains Quebecois announced that they were joining a lawsuit against HathiTrust, a consortium of U.S. universities that work with Google on the digitization of millions of books. The lawsuit, which was led by the Authors’ Guild in the U.S., challenged the legality of scanning millions of books and placing the books in the HathiTrust Digital Library (HDL). Yesterday, a U.S. court ruled resoundingly for the universities, concluding that the practices fall squarely within U.S. fair use (good analysis from Grimmelman, Madison, Smith and Krews). The case is an important win for fair use and it points to a potential model for Canadian universities that have lagged behind in ensuring digital access to materials.

The HDL, a joint project of the University of California, University of Wisconsin, Indiana University, Cornell University and University of Michigan, used digital copies originally scanned by Google to allow for three purposes: (1) full text searches; (2) preservation; and (3) access for people with print disabilities. The universities implemented access to the database of scanned books in different ways. The full text search functionality enabled users to search through millions of books for particular terms. If the book was not in the public domain or there was no authorization from the copyright owner, searches only indicated the page number where the search term was found with no actual text copied. Students with print disabilities were able to access the full-text through a secure system that was not available to the general public or student body.

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October 11, 2012 2 comments News