Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Friday, December 9, 2011

University responds to Authors Guild lawsuit

Lawyers representing U-M and other defendants responded on Dec. 2 to the Authors Guild lawsuit that seeks to curtail the university's digitization efforts and impound the in-copyright digital volumes held by the defendants in the HathiTrust Digital Library, which is administered by U-M and comprises more than 60 institutional participants and almost 10 million volumes.

The filing reflects the university's commitment to mount a vigorous defense against the lawsuit. It declares that the "[d]efendants' use of and activities with respect to the works" are permitted under various sections of the Copyright Act, including Sections 107, 108, and 121, which address fair use, library uses, and uses to make works accessible to people who have disabilities, respectively.

In addition, the filing cites state sovereign immunity as well as "the doctrine of laches as a result of the Plaintiffs' unreasonable delay in bringing this lawsuit." The university began digitizing its collection in 1994.

The court has set a discovery deadline of May 20, 2012, and a November 2012 trial date. To download a copy of the filing, go to thepublicindex.org/docs/cases/hathitrust/answer.pdf.