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HathiTrust is, in its own words, "a partnership of major research institutions and libraries working to ensure that the cultural record is preserved and accessible long into the future." The Author's Guild describes itself as "the nation's leading advocate for writers' interests in effective copyright protection, fair contracts and free expression since it was founded as the Authors League of America in 1912."

In September, 2011, the Author's Guild and others sued HathiTrust for violation of copyright law. HathiTrust has been scanning books for purposes that they argue fall within the law's exceptions for "fair use." The Author's Guild sees the scanning as a dire threat to author's rights.