The National Press Photographers Association and The American Photographic Artists organization have joined 15 other signees in a lawsuit against Google’s Book scanning project.
The parties claim that a widespread and uncompensated infringement of copyright is being perpetuated by the search giant.
Google has plans to digitize all of the world’s books
One of Google’s most ambitious missions is to preserve the world’s cultural heritage by saving digital copies of any human inscribing it can find. This way, the fate of the famous Libray of Alexandria can be avoided for good, according to Google co-founder Sergey Brin.
In 2004, Google started collaborating with several high-profile universities around the world, scanning their integral library collections and making them available for online search.
The company also began hosting the books which were free for public domain use, in their entirety. For the books which were still bound by copyright laws, the search engine would return only small paragraphs. Even so, according to copyright laws, the practice was still illegal, without authorization from rights owners.
When Google started selling digital formats of the books, authors and publishers started demanding a share of the profits. Some requested for their books to be pulled out of the program altogether.
Either way, the situation lead to 2005’s class-action lawsuit filed by The Author’s Guild and the American Association of Publishers. The resulting settlement, released three years later, compensated copyright owners with a total of $125 million, for the books already scanned, and an agreement to receive around 66% of profits, from future sales.
On March 22, 2011, the settlement’s full directive was rejected by a federal court, though. It would have permitted Google to continue scanning any book, without permission, because a class action resolution affects even right owners who weren’t part of the plaintiff.
To this day, the legislation remains ambiguous, and Google still continues to scan first, and ask questions later.
NPPA and APA join 15 others for photographers’ rights
Having been un-included in 2008’s settlement, finally, photographers’ and other visual creators’ rights in this matter will soon be represented.
It is worth mentioning that the plaintiff list includes such associations like The American Society of Media Photographers, The Graphic Artists Guild, The Picture Archive Council of America, The North American Nature Photography Association, and the Professional Photographers of America.
Mike Borland, NPPA’s president had this to say: “As a visual journalist myself, I know the importance of owning my own work and controlling how, when, and why those images are used.”