Movement to Digitize Libraries Gains San Francisco Ally

Categories: Education
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Digital libraries eliminates the possibility that the murder happened in the library
Some might think that libraries would hate the idea of being digitalized -- the scanning of books, papers and other texts and creating a virtual counterpart. But turns out, that's not actually the case.

Organizations, including the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation and the American Library Association, are urging a federal judge to decide that digital libraries are not against the law.

For years, major universities have been working with Google to scan and digitize their libraries to create the HathiTrust Digital Library (HDL) -- a database that universities and research facilities can use to share their extensive library resources with each other.

The movement is opposed mainly by the Authors Guild, a group of authors who want to seek financial compensation for their members whose works are listed in the HDL database. However, proponents of digitization say that authors have no case, because the library doesn't provide entire books for viewing, and that it's legal under fair use.

"The HDL doesn't give most users whole copies of a book. Instead, libraries use the HDL to search for books titles that they should borrow or purchase for their users," said EFF Intellectual Property Director Corynne McSherry.  "This is a highly detailed map - a reference tool - and doesn't take the place of book sales. This is just the kind of fair use that copyright law is supposed to protect."

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