April 7, 2010

Photographers, Illustrators Set To Sue Google

Google is facing another obstacle to their plans to offer an online library and bookstore, as a group of photographers, illustrators, and visual artists are preparing to file a class-action lawsuit claiming that the company's attempts to scan and display books is a violation of their copyrights.

The new lawsuit is scheduled to be filed on Wednesday by the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP), and a handful of other groups representing other artists, and individual photographers and illustrators who were not part of a class-action settlement dating back to 2005.

"We are seeking justice and fair compensation for visual artists whose work appears in the 12 million books and other publications Google has illegally scanned to date," Victor Perlman, general counsel for the ASMP, told reporter Miguel Helft of the New York Times on April 6.

The case will be tried in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The law firm of Mishcon de Reya New York LLP will represent the plaintiffs.

The pending class action suit, which also includes the Graphic Artists Guild, the North American Nature Photography Association, and the Professional Photographers of America, is in many ways similar to an earlier suit filed against Google by publishers and the Authors' Guild.

That suit, which has since been settled, calls for the defendant to "pay $125 million to create a book rights registry and would allow authors and publishers to register their own works while having other ways to earn money from works posted online," according to a Wednesday Reuters report.

The plaintiffs of the pending court case were barred from the previous legal proceedings.


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