American Society of Media Photographers, the Graphic Artists Guild, the Picture Archive Council of America, the North American Nature Photography Association, Professional Photographers of America, photographers Leif Skoogfors, Al Satterwhite, Morton Beebe, Ed Kashi and illustrators John Schmelzer and Simms Taback have filed a class action suite against Google, not only for their rights Grabbing Google project but also for other of Google’s mistreatment of photography’s right. This is great news a first worldwide.
The “do no evil” company has been scanning millions of books and magazine to repurchase them for online usage ( including paid) without even asking for copyright clearance from photogrpaher over content. Millions of images are thus available or will be available online without anyone paying an additional license fee, required for such usage.
This class action will reopen the doors to the fame 11 year long legal action of Greenberg VS National Geographic that terminated when the Supreme Court denied Greenberg’s petition for a writ of certiorari, which lets stand the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision holding that the National Geographic Society and by extension, other publishers have the right to reproduce their magazines’ archive in digital format without paying any additional royalties to freelance photographers.
Certainly this judgment will be used by Google to obtain clearance to continue their trampling of copyright, thus they are not the original publishers.
Obviously, nothing will be resolved quickly but it is the right step in the right direction. One question is, will this group have enough money to pursue this legal battle ? Will this push publishers to use more Royalty Free image as to avoid such issue? Will this impact what publishers are currently doing with reproducing their print publication for Ipad without paying any additional license fees?
More details on the legal move here.