Round up Part 2: Authors Guild v HathiTrust

An update to yesterday’s Round Up on Authors Guild v HathiTrust:

  • HathiTrust Statement on Authors Guild, Inc. et al. v. HathiTrust et al., which includes this bit clearing up the very important distinction between orphan works and public domain works:

    It is worth noting that the Authors’ Guild complaint propagates a common but incorrect assumption that all US works published between 1923-1963 are in copyright. Our Copyright Review Managment System has reviewed nearly 200,000 of these works, and found more than 50% of them to be in the public domain. The same will be true of many works published outside of the United States. How many among the 7 million volumes that they wish to sequester might also be in fact works that no one—including the plaintiffs—has the right to restrict from the public?

  • University of Michigan Library Statement on the Orphan Works Project, in which mistakes are admitted, scrutiny welcome, improvements promised, and rights-holders reassured that

    And as a result of the design of our process, our mistakes have not resulted in the exposure of even one page of in-copyright material.

  • Statement from Paul Courant, university librarian and dean of libraries, including this lovely statement of who research universities are and what libraries stand for:

    As a research university, we are a community of authors, and we have deep respect for copyright law and for the rights and interests of authors. Our digitization efforts simply reflect the library’s continuing legacy of prudence in curating the world’s scholarly and cultural record.

  • The Electronic Frontier Foundation weighs in with No Authors Have Been Harmed in the Making of This Library, with this clear statement of their position:

    Simply put, it appears that the Guild is dead set on wasting time and money addressing imaginary harms, whether or not its efforts might actually benefit either its members or the public.

Updated to add Kevin Smith’s Open Letter to J.R. Salamanca; which brilliantly explains how and why the HathiTrust orphan works project will help books find readers and therefore benefit authors.

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