Photo Industry Follows Google Books Rejection with Lawsuit

Posted on 4/7/2010 by Julia Dudnik Stern | Printable Version | Comments (0)

After the courts denied requests to join on the creators’ side of the Authors Guild et. al. v. Google, several photo and creative organizations, along with a few individual photographers and illustrators, have filed a separate class action against the search engine.

The lawsuit unites the American Society of Media Photographers, the Graphic Artists Guild, the Picture Archive Council of America, the North American Nature Photography Association, Professional Photographers of America, photographers Leif Skoogfors, Al Satterwhite, Morton Beebe, Ed Kashi and illustrators John Schmelzer and Simms Taback. The lawsuit was filed by Mishcon de Reya New York LLP in the U.S. District for the Southern District of New York.

The class action alleges that Google committed copyright infringement by scanning millions of books and other publications containing copyrighted images and displaying them to the public without addressing the rights of their owners or creators. The issues involved exceed those raised in the lawsuit that has led to the much-discussed settlement, as plaintiffs say there is a need to address what they se as Google’s “systematic and pervasive infringements of the rights of photographers, illustrators and other visual artists.”

ASMP and its sister organizations seek to address the exclusion of visual artists from the debate regarding Google’s methods of handling copyrighted materials. The original Author’s Guild lawsuit revolved mainly around textual matter, and the courts declined to expand it to also encompass visual material, particularly because this request came late in the process of negotiating a settlement.

In addition to representation, the class action lawsuit will seek fair compensation for visual artists whose work has been reproduced by Google.

Copyright © 2010 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


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