May 21, 2022

Authors Guild Appeals HathiTrust Decision, Library Copyright Alliance Issues Statement

On November 8, the Authors Guild appealed the verdict in its case against the HathiTrust to the U.S. Court of Appeals Second Circuit.

The Guild had filed suit against the Trust in 2011, alleging that the Trust’s digitization efforts constituted copyright infringement.

However, on October 10, Judge Baer of the United States District Court Southern District of New York found overwhelmingly in favor of HathiTrust. He not only held that copying a work for purposes of search is in itself transformative, as is facilitating access for print-disabled persons, but also that the Guild and other U.S. associational plaintiffs don’t even have standing to sue, though the foreign associations might.

More from Gary Price, editor of

New from LCA (via ARL):

The Library Copyright Alliance (LCA) has issued the following statement regarding the appeal filed yesterday by the Authors Guild in its lawsuit against the HathiTrust and five partner libraries:

We are deeply disappointed by the Authors Guild’s decision to appeal Judge Baer’s landmark opinion acknowledging the legality, and the extraordinary social value, of the HathiTrust Digital Library. Libraries have a moral and a legal obligation to provide the broadest possible access to knowledge for all of our users, and the HathiTrust and its partners have assembled an invaluable digital resource that will ensure for the first time that library print collections can be made available on equitable terms to our print-disabled users. The database also facilitates preservation and cutting-edge scholarship, all with no harm to authors or publishers. As we predicted, Judge Baer did not look kindly on the Guild’s shortsighted and ill-conceived lawsuit, saying, “I cannot imagine a definition of fair use that…would require that I terminate this invaluable contribution to the progress of science and cultivation of the arts that at the same time effectuates the ideals espoused by the ADA.” If there is an upside to this misguided appeal, it is that the Second Circuit will now have the opportunity to affirm that powerful insight.

The Library Copyright Alliance is made up of three library associations:


We will update this post with more as we get it.

Authors Guild v HathiTrust (Notice of Appeal)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.