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Photographers sue Google over Book Search rights

photography news, diana topan, Google Book Search controversy, copyright infringement, photographers sue google
April 8, 2010 /PN/ The American Society of Media Photographers has sued Mountain View over Google Book Search, the library-scanning project, that Google has illegally scanned and displayed millions of books and other publications without the approval of those who control the rights to the photographs and other artwork inside those titles.

"Google is engaging in massive copyright infringement," the plaintiffs alleged in papers filed this week in U.S. District Court in New York.

The lawsuit, which the ASMP filed on Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, makes similar claims as the ones filed in 2005 by the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers (AAP) on behalf of authors and publishers.

The Google Books legal action, initially filed in 2005, is expected to be settled soon; however, Wednesday's lawsuit over visual art on Google could keep the search engine in court on copyright issues for longer.

The new lawsuit, filed in federal court in Manhattan, seeks class action status to represent what could number thousands of artists. It comes as Google and writers are embroiled in a 5-year-old lawsuit over Google’s move to digitize the world’s literature.

"This is a civil action that arises under the laws of the United States and is designed to redress the most widespread, well-publicized, and uncompensated infringement of exclusive rights in images in the history of book and periodical publishing," the suit reads.

The plaintiffs are asking the court to enjoin Google from displaying the books in question on its Web site and fine the company up to $180,000 for each work it's found to have reproduced in violation of copyright laws.

For its part, Google said in a statement: "We are confident that Google Books is fully compliant with U.S. and international copyright law."

The ASMP's suit was also filed on behalf of 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.

Diana Topan


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