American Photographic Artists Join The Lawsuit Against Google Books
from the but-of-course dept
For all the talk of how the MPAA and RIAA are extreme copyright maximalists, in my experience the one group of copyright maximalists who are the most extreme and unreasonable (and, often, uninformed) are photographers. This, of course, does not apply across the board. There are many, many photographers who are reasonable and clueful when it comes to copyright issues. However, in stories dealing with photographers, they often stake out the absolute most extreme positions, which is only marginally ironic, given that photographers often have some of the weakest claims on copyright around, given that the copyright only applies to the creative elements of their photographs, and for things like landscapes, that may only apply to things like framing and angle. Perhaps it’s because their copyrights tend to be so thin that some of them stake out such extreme positions (for example, they tend to be vehemently against any sort of orphan works legislation — an area of copyright law that many other copyright maximalists seem at least open to exploring).
Given that, the only thing really surprising about the news that the American Photographic Artists (APA) have joined the lawsuit against Google’s book scanning project (sent in by Brig C. McCoy) is the fact that it took them this long to get around to it.
American Photographic Artists (APA) is joining the 15 plaintiffs in a lawsuit against Google. By joining the suit, APA alleges the “Google Book Search” program violates the copyrights of numerous photographers and other visual artists. The lead plaintiffs include: The American Society of Media Photographers, Graphic Artists Guild, Picture Archive Council of America, North American Nature Photography Association, Professional Photographers of America, National Press Photographers Association, Leif Skoogfors , Al Satterwhite , Morton Beebe , Ed Kashi , John Schmelzer , Simms Taback and Gail Kuenstler Taback Living Trust, Leland Bobbe , John Francis, Ficara, and David W. Moser.
Copyright protection and licensing images are two elements that ensure the sustainability of a professional photographer’s career,” notes APA National President, Theresa Raffetto. “APA membership consists of professional photographers who rely on these elements and is why APA advocates fearlessly for copyright protection. Holding Google Books responsible for their flagrant copyright infringement is something APA has been working on and we’re pleased to continue this fight in conjunction with the other plaintiffs.”
And, yes, I certainly recognize that seeing a single photograph in a book means that Google’s book scan may show the whole thing, but that’s because the photographer likely already licensed that image for the book in question. And, if you’ve ever seen the scans from Google books, you’d know, quite well, that there’s no way anyone would consider such a scan a reasonable substitute for the original image. For example, I looked at the scans from this photography book, and the quality is quite low. This is no substitute for the original in any way, shape or form. This just seems like a case of piling on based on copyright aggressiveness.