Another HathiTrust Win

HathiTrust

 

From ARL Policy Notes:

Second Circuit Affirms Fair Use in Authors Guild v. HathiTrust

On June 10, 2014, the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the lower court decision in Authors Guild v. HathiTrust in favor of HathiTrust Digital Library’s (HDL) motions for summary judgment, finding that two of the three uses by HDL (creating a full-text search database and providing access to the print disabled) constituted fair use and remanding the issue of the third use (preservation) back to the district court to determine the standing of the plaintiffs to bring the claim.

Kevin Smith notes some oddities in the decision, and emphasizes two important points:

First, the Second Circuit accepted the same broad approach to the issue of transformation as has become common in other decisions. It is not just actual changes to the original work that can support a finding of transformation, but a “different purpose… new expression, meaning or message.” And, as I said, the Court appealed to a broad consensus across the country in defining transformation this way.

Second, the Second Circuit held that the lower court was wrong to find that digitization for the purpose of facilitating access for persons with visual or print disabilities was transformative, but found that it was fair use nevertheless. This is important, because in the Georgia State appeal the plaintiffs are arguing that because Judge Evans found that copying for electronic reserves was not transformative, she was in error to still find fair use. But in the HathiTrust case the Second Circuit recognizes what is there for all who read Supreme Court opinions to see, that when a use is transformative it is very likely to be fair use, but when it is not transformative, it can still be fair use if a careful analysis of the factors indicates that conclusion. That is what the Second Circuit finds in regard to HathiTrust and its copies for the disabled, and it is what Judge Evans found in GSU. Both were correct decisions in keeping with the clear precedent from the Supreme Court.

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First, the Second Circuit accepted the same broad approach to the issue of transformation as has become common in other decisions. It is not just actual changes to the original work that can support a finding of transformation, but a “different purpose… new expression, meaning or message.” And, as I said, the Court appealed to a broad consensus across the country in defining transformation this way.

Second, the Second Circuit held that the lower court was wrong to find that digitization for the purpose of facilitating access for persons with visual or print disabilities was transformative, but found that it was fair use nevertheless. This is important, because in the Georgia State appeal the plaintiffs are arguing that because Judge Evans found that copying for electronic reserves was not transformative, she was in error to still find fair use. But in the HathiTrust case the Second Circuit recognizes what is there for all who read Supreme Court opinions to see, that when a use is transformative it is very likely to be fair use, but when it is not transformative, it can still be fair use if a careful analysis of the factors indicates that conclusion. That is what the Second Circuit finds in regard to HathiTrust and its copies for the disabled, and it is what Judge Evans found in GSU. Both were correct decisions in keeping with the clear precedent from the Supreme Court.

– See more at: http://blogs.library.duke.edu/scholcomm/2014/06/11/a-win-oddly/#sthash.SLzxND1A.dpuf