Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2274832
 


 



Brief of Digital Humanities and Law Scholars as Amici Curiae in Authors Guild v. Hathitrust


Matthew L. Jockers


Department of English, University of Nebraska

Matthew Sag


Loyola University Chicago School of Law

Jason Schultz


New York University School of Law

June 4, 2013


Abstract:     
This Amicus Brief was filed in the United States Court of Appeal for the Second Circuit in the case of Authors Guild v. Hathitrust on June 4, 2013. The case is on Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, No. 11 CV 6351 (Baer, J.)

Amici are over 100 professors and scholars who teach, write, and research in computer science, the digital humanities, linguistics or law, and two associations that represent Digital Humanities scholars generally.

Mass digitization, especially by libraries, is a key enabler of socially valuable computational and statistical research (often called “data mining” or “text mining”). While the practice of data mining has been used for several decades in traditional scientific disciplines such as astrophysics and in social sciences like economics, it has only recently become technologically and economically feasible within the humanities. This has led to a revolution, dubbed “Digital Humanities,” ranging across subjects like literature and linguistics to history and philosophy. New scholarly endeavors enabled by Digital Humanities advancements are still in their infancy but have enormous potential to contribute to our collective understanding of the cultural, political, and economic relationships among various collections (or corpora) of works – including copyrighted works – and with society.

The Court’s ruling in this case on the legality of mass digitization could dramatically affect the future of work in the Digital Humanities. The Amici argue that the Court should affirm the decision of the district court below that library digitization for the purpose of text mining and similar non-expressive uses present no legally cognizable conflict with the statutory rights or interests of the copyright holders. Where, as here, the output of a database – i.e., the data it produces and displays – is noninfringing, this Court should find that the creation and operation of the database itself is likewise noninfringing. The copying required to convert paper library books into a searchable digital database is properly considered a “non-expressive use” because the works are copied for reasons unrelated to their protectable expressive qualities – the copies are intermediate and, as far as is relevant here, unread.

The mass digitization of books for text-mining purposes is a form of incidental or “intermediate” copying that enables ultimately non-expressive, non-infringing, and socially beneficial uses without unduly treading on any expressive – i.e., legally cognizable – uses of the works. The Court should find such copying to be fair use.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 54

Keywords: copyright, intellectual property, text-mining, digital humanities, digitization, non-expressive use, non-consumptive use

JEL Classification: K00

working papers series


Download This Paper

Date posted: June 9, 2013  

Suggested Citation

Jockers, Matthew L. and Sag, Matthew and Schultz, Jason, Brief of Digital Humanities and Law Scholars as Amici Curiae in Authors Guild v. Hathitrust (June 4, 2013). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2274832 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2274832

Contact Information

Matthew L. Jockers
Department of English, University of Nebraska ( email )
Lincoln, NE
United States
Matthew Sag (Contact Author)
Loyola University Chicago School of Law ( email )
25 E. Pearson
Chicago, IL 60611
United States

Jason Schultz
New York University School of Law ( email )
40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012-1099
United States
Feedback to SSRN


Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 1,589
Downloads: 131
Download Rank: 123,666

© 2014 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollo1 in 0.578 seconds