PPA Joins Class Action Suit Against Google

Google has proven itself to be no friend to professional photographers, and PPA along with four other associations has decided it is time to go to battle against the behemoth infringer. On April 7, Professional Photographers of America (PPA) joined four other photographic trade and visual arts associations in filing a class action copyright infringement suit against Google Inc. in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

The suit filed by Mischcon de Reya New York LLP, relates to Google’s illegal scanning of millions of books and other publications containing copyrighted images and displaying them to the public without regard to the rights of the visual creators whose work is represented. 

This class action lawsuit addresses more than just Google’s Library Project. It makes reference to Google’s systematic and continued infringement of the rights of photographers, illustrators and other visual artists. The goal is to protect the interests of owners of copyrights in visual works from the massive and organized copying and public display of their images without regard to their contributions and rights to fair compensation. 

The decision to take action against Google came after the Court denied previous requests made by visual artists to join the currently pending $125 million class action that had previously been filed primarily on behalf of text authors in connection with the Google Library Project.

“PPA has a history of standing up for photographer’s rights,” says David Trust, PPA’s chief executive officer. “Our involvement in this suit follows in those footsteps and will give a voice to photographers and visual artists not included in the author’s settlement.”

The problem is that the current settlement proposal was primarily for authors and only includes creators of photographs and other visual images if they are also the author of the book. For example, if you are photographer that contributed to a textbook scanned by the Google Library Project, you would not be eligible to file a claim under the existing settlement. For more information about Google’s settlement with authors, visit www.googlebooksettlement.com.

"The world is getting more complicated from a copyright perspective. It is disappointing that a Goliath like Google would have so little regard for the works of creators," Trust adds. "We're proud to join with the other associations in this cause."

Complainants in the action include the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP), Graphic Artists Guild, the Picture Archive Council of America, the North American Nature Photography Association, Professional Photographers of America, Images.com, photographers Leif Skoogfors, Al Satterwhite and Morton Beebe, and illustrator John Schmelzer.

For more news stories about this filing, please read the following articles:
New York Times
Search Engine Land

For more information on PPA’s copyright advocacy, please visit www.ppa.com/content.cfm?ItemNumber=1537.

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