“How important are institutions like DPLA and HathiTrust in the struggle to transfer the benefits of fair use to digital libraries?”
The DPLA and HathiTrust are extremely important in terms of their role in maintaining fair use rights for digital libraries. As advocates for their own missions, they can in turn highlight issues that other (smaller) libraries are facing as well. As high profile projects, DPLA and HathiTrust are also more likely to be targeted by major lawsuits over digitization efforts. Although these lawsuits are unfortunate, it’s heartening to see that rulings in cases like HathiTrust have continued to protect digitization projects and our right to information access.
“Do you think groups like Hathitrust and DPLA will inspire other libraries to be bolder regarding digitization moving forward?”
I think there will definitely be other libraries considering digitization projects that haven’t in the past, but I’m not convinced that this is the main inspiration/reason. As important as the projects are, I can’t help but think that a larger reason is that fact that digital projects are inevitably just a huge part of the future of libraries in general. Then again, if Hathi had lost its case, the legal issues surrounding digitization would be likely be quite different… though I like to think there would have still been a way around it – digitization is just to huge to ignore at this point.