The Library Copyright Alliance (LCA), a group comprised of three major library associations, has issued a statement expressing “deep disappointment” over the lawsuit filed this week by the Authors Guild against HathiTrust and its research library partners. “The case has no merit, and completely disregards the rights of libraries and their users under the law, especially fair use,” the statement reads. “We are confident the court will not look kindly on this shortsighted and ill-conceived lawsuit."
The LCA, which consists of the American Library Association, the Association of Research Libraries, and the Association of College and Research Libraries, represents some 300,000 information professionals and thousands of libraries nationwide. Not surprisingly, the librarians did a little research and included in their statement an acknowledgement by Authors Guild president Scott Turow, written two years earlier. “I count myself as one of millions of Americans whose life simply would not be the same without the libraries that supported my learning,” Turow wrote in a 2009 article for the Huffington Post. In a statement this week, Turow called the HathiTrust digital library project “a preposterous, ad hoc initiative."
“The HathiTrust adds significant value to library collections in support of teaching, research, and learning, while respecting the law. It is deplorable that eight authors and three special interest groups are trying to dismantle this invaluable resource out of a misplaced fear of the digital future," the LCA statement adds. “It is a shame that the Authors Guild fails to understand what Mr. Turow expressed so well, the vital role that libraries play in our cultural ecosystem.”