The Catholic University of America

Welcome to the Copyright section of our webpage.

This front page will reflect our most current information on copyright law and related intellectual property law issues affecting educational institutions.




Authors Guild v. Hathi Trust, (C.A. 2nd Cir.)  June 10, 2014

The Hathi Trust digital library partnership involved 13 libraries creating a repository of fully scanned books (scanned by Google) that could be used for three purposes: 

  • Topical Searching. The general public can search for particular terms across all digital copies in the repository. Unless the copyright holder authorizes broader use, the search results show only the page numbers on which the search term is found within the work and the number of times the term appears on each page.
  • · Access for individuals with Print Disabilities. Member libraries can provide patrons with print disabilities access to the full text of all scanned works. A “print disability” is any disability that prevents a person from effectively reading printed material. Blindness is one example, but print disabilities also include those that prevent a person from physically holding a book or turning pages.
  • · The HDL permits members to create a replacement copy of the work, if the member already owned an original copy, the member’s original copy is lost, destroyed, or stolen, and a replacement copy is unobtainable at a “fair” price elsewhere.

The 2nd Circut Court of Appeals upheld the opinion of the SDNY, finding that the doctrine of fair use permitted full text searchs, security was such that a risk of hacking was minimal, access to patrons with print disabilities and replacement copies was also fair use, although the 2nd Circuit did not find access for those with disablities transformative, it was still a fair use. US author groups were generally found to not have standing to sue, but foreign authors' group did have standing. The case was sent back to the lower court to decide standing on the long term preservation argument.The orphan works part of the project, currently on hold, was not ripe for adjudication. For a full summary of the case, see the article in the Chronicle of Higher Education titled Hathi Trust Digital Library Wins Latest Round in Battle with Authors.