CEPIC Objects to Updated Google Books Settlement

Posted on 11/23/2009 by Julia Dudnik Stern | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Following the release of the court-mandated revision to the Google Books Settlement, CEPIC—formerly known as the Coordination of European Picture Agencies and just rebranded as Centre of the Picture Industry, complete with a new logo—has renewed its objections to the precedent-setting agreement.

CEPIC noted that the new version of the settlement endeavors to address a number of issues by, for example, refining some definitions and excluding 95% of foreign works. Still, CEPIC feels that the revisions, which were tentatively approved by the court on Nov 19, do not address the photo industry’s main concerns: It still allows Google to use and sell works on an opt-out basis. It does not exclude all foreign works, with Google retaining rights to index materials originating in the U.K., Canada and Australia. Perhaps most importantly, the settlement assigns to a new body, the Unclaimed Work Fiduciary, the power to set terms on behalf of authors of orphaned works.

CEPIC reiterated its monopoly concerns, stressing that the settlement places Google in the position to dictate market terms to not only authors and publishers but also future entrants into the same space.

Though a Google spokesperson has previously stated that the company will not republish images for which it has not secured relevant rights through the settlement, CEPIC stresses that this provision remains omitted from the language of the settlement. “There is no legal guarantee that Google will actually black out/block images in the future,” said CEPIC in a statement.

Even if this happens, CEPIC points out that taking pictorial material out of a book affects the integrity of the original work. “Sooner or later, Google will address photographic rights. At this later stage, photographic associations, who were not part of the first round of negotiations, will be in a very weak bargaining position to assert the rights of the authors they represent,” cautions the organization.

In sum, CEPIC is still calling for the settlement to be thrown out and for new negotiations to include stakeholders representative of both textual and visual content producers. This, however, seems unlikely in light of U.S. District Judge Denny Chin’s recent ruling that the settlement does not violate the rights of visual artists, who remain free to pursue Google under a separate lawsuit instead of attempting to join this one at what Chin felt was the proverbial eleventh hour.

As to orphan works-related implications, CEPIC is in the camp that favors a legislative solution. While the organization would prefer that orphan-work uses were regulated by new laws, negotiated at the international level, and facilitated by independent public bodies, the main party to the lawsuit that led to the settlement pointed out the problem with this approach is time. Paul Aiken, executive director of The Authors Guild, told The Wall Street Journal: “You can’t solve this problem without something like a class action. We weren’t going to sit around and wait for a legislative solution.”

Copyright © 2009 Julia Dudnik Stern. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz


Be the first to comment below.

Post Comment

Please log in or create an account to post comments.

Stay Connected

Sign up to receive email notification when new stories are posted.

Follow Us

Free Stuff

Stock Photo Pricing: The Future
In the last two years I have written a lot about stock photo pricing and its downward slide. If you have time over the holidays you may want to review some of these stories as you plan your strategy ...
Read More
Future Of Stock Photography
If you’re a photographer that counts on the licensing of stock images to provide a portion of your annual income the following are a few stories you should read. In the past decade stock photography ...
Read More
Blockchain Stories
The opening session at this year’s CEPIC Congress in Berlin on May 30, 2018 is entitled “Can Blockchain be applied to the Photo Industry?” For those who would like to know more about the existing blo...
Read More
2017 Stories Worth Reviewing
The following are links to some 2017 and early 2018 stories that might be worth reviewing as we move into the new year.
Read More
Stories Related To Stock Photo Pricing
The following are links to stories that deal with stock photo pricing trends. Probably the biggest problem the industry has faced in recent years has been the steady decline in prices for the use of ...
Read More
Stock Photo Prices: The Future
This story is FREE. Feel free to pass it along to anyone interested in licensing their work as stock photography. On October 23rd at the DMLA 2017 Conference in New York there will be a panel discuss...
Read More
Important Stock Photo Industry Issues
Here are links to recent stories that deal with three major issues for the stock photo industry – Revenue Growth Potential, Setting Bottom Line On Pricing and Future Production Sources.
Read More
Recent Stories – Summer 2016
If you’ve been shooting all summer and haven’t had time to keep up with your reading here are links to a few stories you might want to check out as we move into the fall. To begin, be sure to complet...
Read More
Corbis Acquisition by VCG/Getty Images
This story provides links to several stories that relate to the Visual China Group (VCG) acquisition of Corbis and the role Getty Images has been assigned in the transfer of Corbis assets to the Gett...
Read More
Finding The Right Image
Many think search will be solved with better Metadata. While metadata is important, there are limits to how far it can take the customer toward finding the right piece of content. This story provides...
Read More

More from Free Stuff