A complaint against five US universities and the HathiTrust digital library project was submitted to the US District Court for the Southern District of New York by the authors Guild and writers from Australia, Britain and Canada. They claim that universities gained unauthorized scans from Google of nearly 7 million copyright-protected books. The suit claims that universities are going to use so-called "orphan" works – works that do not have any certain authors.
The lawsuit says: "By digitising, archiving, copying and now publishing the copyrighted works without the authorisation of those works' rights holders, the universities are engaging in one of the largest copyright infringements in history".
According to Angelo Loukakis, executive director of the Australian Society of Authors, this is "an upsetting and outrageous attempt" to put an end to author’s rights. He said: "This group of American universities has no authority to decide whether, when or how authors forfeit their copyright protection. These aren't orphaned books, they're abducted books."
Among other parties to the complaint are writers and novelists, poets and various books’ authous such Pat Cummings, Loukakis, Roxana Robinson, Andre Roy, T.J. Stiles and other famous people. They said that the universities have, "without permission, digitised and loaded onto HathiTrust's online servers thousands of editions, in various translations."
A hearing in the case is to be held in New York on September, 13.