The Authors Guild and writers from Australia, Britain and Canada filed a copyright infringement suit Monday against five US universities and the HathiTrust digital library project. The complaint submitted in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York claims the universities obtained unauthorized scans from Internet giant Google of an estimated seven million copyright-protected books.

It said the universities, through the HathiTrust consortium, plan to allow unlimited downloads by students and faculty members of so-called "orphan" works -- copyright-protected books whose authors cannot be located.

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