University of Michigan admits flaws in HathiTrust system

September 19, 2011

September 19, 2011. Less than a week after the University of Michigan brushed off a lawsuit by the Authors Guild over the university’s move to make copyrighted “orphan” works in its digital collection freely available to students and faculty, the Michigan Library suspended the practice Friday, admitting “serious” flaws in its process for identifying orphans.

Friday’s mea culpa followed a public flogging of the library and its nonprofit digital consortium, HathiTrust, at the hands of the Authors Guild, in which the guild quickly tracked down the owners of the copyrights on several works that HathiTrust had categorized as “orphans” -- books and articles that are in copyright but whose copyright owners cannot be located or identified.

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