Main Nav

Circuit Court Issues Decision in HathiTrust Digital Library Case

On June 10, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit determined in Authors Guild v. HathiTrust that the HathiTrust Digital Library constitutes a “fair use” of copyrights works, largely upholding the 2012 dismissal of the case by the U.S. District Court in New York.  EDUCAUSE filed an amicus brief to the Second Circuit with other higher education associations and issued a policy brief outlining the importance of the case.

The lawsuit that prompted the decision was originally filed in 2011 by the Authors Guild and other groups alleging that HathiTrust violated copyright law by making scanned works available for certain uses. HathiTrust Digital Library, formed in 2008, is a searchable online database of written materials. The database was created by universities and research libraries and is currently composed of 80 member institutions. The database houses scanned copies of over 10 million literary works.

In the ruling the court validated the online database, claiming it did not violate copyright protections for authors whose works were scanned, because the database does not reproduce the books or provide actual text of the written work; instead it allows users to search for page numbers where specific text of the works can be found. Therefore, the court claimed authors were not harmed economically.

This is the third ruling in which fair use for mass book digitization was upheld. The other cases include Authors Guild v. Google and Cambridge University Press v. Becker


Annual Conference

October 27–30
Save the Date

Events for all Levels and Interests

Whether you're looking for a conference to attend face-to-face to connect with peers, or for an online event for team professional development, see what's upcoming.


Digital Badges
Member recognition effort
Earn yours >

Career Center

Leadership and Management Programs

EDUCAUSE Institute
Project Management



Jump Start Your Career Growth

Explore EDUCAUSE professional development opportunities that match your career aspirations and desired level of time investment through our interactive online guide.


EDUCAUSE organizes its efforts around three IT Focus Areas



Join These Programs If Your Focus Is


Get on the Higher Ed IT Map

Employees of EDUCAUSE member institutions and organizations are invited to create individual profiles.



2015 Strategic Priorities

  • Building the Profession
  • IT as a Game Changer
  • Foundations

Learn More >

Uncommon Thinking for the Common Good™

EDUCAUSE is the foremost community of higher education IT leaders and professionals.