Authors Guild, Inc. v. HathiTrust, No. 12-4547 (2d Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
This appeal concerned the HathiTrust Digital Library (HDL). At issue was whether the HDL's use of copyrighted material is protected against a claim of copyright infringement under the doctrine of fair use. Plaintiffs appealed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of defendants and dismissal of their claims of copyright infringement. The district court also dismissed the claims of certain plaintiffs for lack of standing and dismissed other copyright claims as unripe. The court held that three authors' associations lacked standing to bring suit on behalf of their members and were properly dismissed from the suit and the remaining four authors' associations do have standing to bring suit on behalf of their members; the doctrine of fair use allowed defendants to create a full-text searchable database of copyrighted works and to provide those works in formats accessible to those with disabilities; and claims predicated upon the Orphan Works Project are not ripe for adjudication. Therefore, the court affirmed as to those issues. The court vacated the judgment, in part, insofar as it rests on the district court's holding related to the claim of infringement predicated upon defendants' preservation of copyrighted works and remanded for further proceedings.