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Authors Guild Sues to Impound 7 Million Scanned Books

augui.gifThe Authors Guild has joined with the Australian Society of Authors, the Union Des Écrivaines et des Écrivains Québécois (UNEQ) and eight authors in a lawsuit over a collection of digitally scanned copies of seven million books. Recently these universities combined resources to create the HathiTrust digital collection at the University of Michigan.

The Guild aims to “impound” the collection until the matter is settled in court. Follow this PDF link to see the complaint. The copyright suit was leveled against HathiTrust, the University of Michigan, the University of California, the University of Wisconsin, Indiana University, and Cornell University.

The six authors who joined the suit included  novelists Angelo Loukakis, Roxana Robinson, Daniele Simpson, and Fay Weldon, children’s author Pat Cummings, poet Andre Roy, scholar James Shapiro and biographer T.J. Stiles. The University of Michigan planned to allow faculty and students to download copies of orphaned works in this digital collection.

Authors Guild president Scott Turow had this comment: “These books, because of the universities’ and Google’s unlawful actions, are now at needless, intolerable digital risk … Even if it weren’t for this preposterous, ad-hoc initiative, we’d have a major problem with the digital repository. Authors shouldn’t have to trust their works to a group that’s making up the rules as it goes along.”

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