Illustrators, Photographers File Suit Over Google Books Project


The class action lawsuit against Google was filed in the U.S. District for the Southern District of New York, and seeks to protect the owners of visual works copyrights from the "massive and organized copying and public display of their images without regard to their contributions and rights to fair compensation," according to a statement from the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP).

Joining the ASMP in the class action lawsuit are the Graphic Artists Guild, the Picture Archive Council of America, the North American Nature Photography Association, Professional Photographers of America, and a number of individual photographers and illustrators.

The trade associations originally wanted to join the currently pending $125 million class action filed previously on behalf of text authors in connection with the Google Books project.

However, the trade associations filed their separate lawsuit after the Court denied their request, the ASMP said.

Sponsored post

Google was sued by the Author's Guild and other publishing rights holders in 2005. The groups accused Google of copyright violation in Google's plan to digitize out-of-print books and make them available on the Internet through its Google Books library.

Google and the authors' rights groups settled in October 2008, with Google agreeing that it would pay $125 million to the rights holders and restrict digitization of certain books that were out of print but are still protected by copyright.

The Court announced preliminary approval of the amended settlement in November of 2009.

ASMP Executive Director Eugene Mopsik, in the statement, said, "Through this suit, we are fulfilling the missions of our organizations and standing up for the rights of photographers and other visual artists who have been excluded from the process up to now. We strongly believe that our members and those of other organizations, whose livelihoods are significantly and negatively impacted, deserve to have representation in this landmark issue."

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the trade associations by the law office of Mishcon de Reya New York LLP.

Chad Berndtson contributed to this article..