Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
google books, photographers


Photographers The Latest To Sue Over Google Book Search Deal

from the sue-sue-sue-sue dept

This is hardly a surprise, but with the Google Book search lawsuit/settlement with authors and publishers still under discussion, it seems that photographers have decided to file their own lawsuit. This was, in large part, driven by the judge in the existing case, who excluded photographers from the current lawsuit/settlement, because the photographers have a very different perspective and demands concerning the scanning.

Via The Trademark Blog, we get a look at the actual filing:
While Google decided to cave rather than fight the good fair use fight on regular book scanning, it would be interesting to see if they decide to fight the photographers on this one. I would think they have a very strong fair use case -- and there is at least some case law to support this position. I know of two recent cases that had at least somewhat similar fact patterns, involving commercial entities using copyrighted images as part of an aggregated product -- and both were found as fair use.

Just last year, we wrote about a book that used old magazine covers drawn by artist Basil Gogos that looked at Gogos' artwork. The magazine that originally published the artwork claimed copyright violations, but the district court found a strong fair use claim in noting that it was "fundamentally transformative in nature." The other case, involves old Grateful Dead posters, where someone published a book of the posters, but was sued by the Bill Graham Archives, claiming copyright infringement over those posters. Once again, the court said this was fair use, despite it being a commercial endeavor. Again, part of the reasoning was that this was an aggregation of the content, and the overall quality of the images did not match up to the original posters. Given the low-fi quality of Google book scans, it seems likely that the same claim makes sense for photographic/visual media works that Google scans in books as well. It's worth noting, also, that the Grateful Dead poster decision took place in the same district court (Southern District of NY) where this new lawsuit is being filed.

Even so, this whole thing seems confusing, and feels like a pure moneygrab by photographers. The images from a Google book scan are not high quality in any way. They're certainly not going to replace or act as a substitute for the original works. In fact, it's difficult to see how they would do anything but increase the interest in the original, higher quality, works.

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Apr 2010 @ 6:59pm

    Didn't the photographer hand over its rights to the book company?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Apr 2010 @ 7:19pm

    Flash may be saving trees but it's wasting my CPU.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), 7 Apr 2010 @ 7:22pm

    Color me surprised

    Why is it always photogs? Especially since they're the first up against the wall when it's security theater?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Txknight (profile), 7 Apr 2010 @ 7:24pm

    and the majority of these books, no one but a few people will even care about or be aware of them

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    mAzzam1988, 7 Apr 2010 @ 9:58pm

    I don't really get it!! if I can find a photocopy of the book I wanna read, why buying it?! I don't understand these rules!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Apr 2010 @ 10:21pm

    Pay Me, Pay Me, Pay Me. Because I'm So Special!

    According to Wired, the photographers and illustrators are demanding to be paid even if their works are blacked out in the scans! Copyright has sure created an "entitlement society". Not only do these people want to be paid over and over for the rest of their lives for one piece of work they did a long time ago, now they want to be paid when it isn't even used.

    Now, tell me again why we shouldn't just get rid of copyright...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: Techdirt Logo Gear
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.