Authors take libraries to court in face off in copyright issue

September 22, 2011

September 22, 2011. As with a difficult pregnancy, the birthing of a new publishing model for the 21st century has proven complex and painful for everyone involved. The focus of much of the debate and angst has centered on what the publishing industry and authors see as the nexus of the struggle: Google Books, and recent actions seem to be taking this struggle aggressively to new levels. On Sept. 12, eight authors—including James Shapiro and Fay Weldon—along with three key organizations representing authors in North America and Australia—filed suit to stop academic libraries from their participation in HathiTrust digitization projects (in cooperative agreements with Google Books). Led by the Authors Guild (AG), the “nation’s leading advocate for writers’ interests,” the plaintiffs include the Australian Society of Authors Limited and Canada’s Union Des Écrivaines et des Écrivains Québécois (UNEQ).

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