Simpsons Solicitors

Australian authors join copyright suit against American universities

September 13th 2011

The Australian Society of Authors has jointed the USA’s Authors Guild, the Quebec Union of Writers and a number of individual authors in filing suit against a partnership of research libraries and five universities which have digitised a large number of books without permission from the authors.

The complaint submitted in a US District Court claims that the universities obtained unauthorised scans from Google of an estimated seven million copyright-protected books: “By digitising, archiving, copying and now publishing the copyrighted works without the authorisation of those works’ rightsholders, the universities are engaged in one of the largest copyright infringements in history” (New York Times).

Individual authors involved in the suit include Australian author Angelo Loukakis, Fay Weldon and Shakespeare scholar James Shapiro. The universities named in the suit are the University of Michigan, University of California, University of Wisconson, Indiana University and Cornell University.

Rather than seeking damages, the plaintiffs are asking that the books be taken off the universities’ servers and held by a trustee.

The New York Times article can be read here: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/13/business/media/authors-sue-to-remove-books-from-digital-archive.html

To read more about this story go to: http://www.copyright.org.au/news-and-policy/details/id/2005/

For inquiries relating to publishing and copyright law please contact Adam Simpson.

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