IPR Files Amicus Brief on Behalf of Disability Organizations in Hathitrust Copyright Case

Today, IPR filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of 15 leading national disability rights organizations and academic researchers in the case of Authors Guild, Inc. v. Hathitrust. The brief urges the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit to uphold the ruling of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York that the efforts of HathiTrust to make university library collections accessible to people with print disabilities constitute a non-infringing fair use under copyright law. The brief details the efforts of people with disabilities and the federal government to make copyrighted works accessible and describes the role of fair use in harmonizing disability rights law, copyright law, and the Progress Clause of the Constitution.

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One Response to IPR Files Amicus Brief on Behalf of Disability Organizations in Hathitrust Copyright Case

  1. Page 19 (top) of the above mentioned amicus brief states: “As Sony and the House Committee Report make clear, efforts to make copyrighted works accessible generally weigh both factors in favor of fair use.”

    I would suggest that both those instances refer to making an accessible copy of a copyrighted work that is already in the possession of the person who is disabled — it does not refer to an organization or other entity distributing multiple copies to persons who have not already obtained the work. In the HR 1976 report in the same paragraph where it mentions the oft quoted making an accessible copy it also states that the Library of Congress itself was (still) required to obtain permission from the copyright owner.

    If Section 121 was enacted to ‘clarify’ Fair Use as mentioned in Footnote 16 on Page 17 that hardly seems to conform with the late Senator Chafee’s floor comments on the Amendment’s introduction in 1996. Senator Chafee did refer to the notion that there was a ‘very narrow’ definition for those who would qualify as Authorized Entities under his amendment — under fair use that becomes anybody who chooses to make a copy for anyone who claims to have a disability which could even be a temporary disability.