Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Google Faces a New Rights Battle

Some say that it never rains just pours. It must feel like it is certainly pouring down on Google’s legal department as it prepares to face yet another copyright law suit. We have had to issues on YouTube, the French court finding them guilty and then before their appeal is even heard more French publishers starting another case. We all await the decision on the Great Book Bank Robbery and their most audacious heist on orphans works. Now The American Society of Media Photographers, the Graphic Artists Guild, the North American Nature Photography Association and the Professional Photographers of America, as well as individual photographers and illustrators have grouped together to fire another shot across the corporate pirate’s bows. The planned class-action lawsuit against Google asserts that in digitizing millions of books from libraries and also with their “partner program,” they infringed on the rights of photographers and other creators of graphic works. The original case action on the book scanning largely excluded photographs and other visual works. In doing so it was almost inevitable this would happen.

Graphics, illustrations and photographs are often used under strict licence in books and may be restricted to renditions or even editions. They are often fee based, may be purely complimentary or integral to the text content. Imagine an art book with no art, a childrens book with no illustrations. We have seen many books digitised with an illustration boxed out because the rights did not extend to digital. We have publishers who have some titles not digitised due to the issue of illustrative rights alone.

It brings home once again the point that a rights business needs a rights clearing house and registry for all, that not only covers the basics, but is capable of dealing with permission and associated rights in a digital world.

To read the filed compliant

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