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April 7, 2010

Visual artists sue Google over copyright issues

Posted: 02:19 PM ET

Photographers and illustrators filed a lawsuit against Google on Wednesday, claiming that the search engine displays copyrighted images in books it scans, without fairly compensating the people who created the images.

The American Society of Media Photographers is leading the class-action lawsuit, which was filed on Wednesday in U.S. District Court in New York, according to a news release.

Visual artists were not allowed to join a previous lawsuit filed against Google by book authors and publishers, who charged that Google was not fairly compensating them for books and excerpts posted online as part of its Google Books project. That project aims to digitize the world's books, creating a huge online library.

The Google Books legal action, initially filed in 2005, is expected to be settled soon; however, Wednesday's lawsuit over visual art on Google could keep the search engine in court on copyright issues for longer.

“We are seeking justice and fair compensation for visual artists whose work appears in the 12 million books and other publications Google has illegally scanned to date," Victor Perlman, general counsel for the photographers' organization, said in a written statement. "In doing so, we are giving voice to thousands of disenfranchised creators of visual artworks whose rights we hope to enforce through this class action.”

James McGuire, who represents the ASMP in the lawsuit against Google, told the Financial Times that the visual artists "are not trying to crash the party or influence what is happening with the other class action. We are just trying to get the best possible result for this class of plaintiffs."

Google says its trying to make information more universally available.

"We are confident that Google Books is fully compliant with U.S. and international copyright law," Gabriel Stricker, a Google spokesman, wrote in an e-mail message to CNN.

"Google Books is an historic effort to make all of the knowledge contained within the world's books searchable online. It exposes readers to information they might not otherwise see, and it provides authors and publishers with a new way to be found."

The ASMP is joined by the Graphic Artists Guild, the Picture Archive Council of America, the North American Nature Photography Association, Professional Photographers of America and others in its filing against Google.

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Filed under: Google • Google Books


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Les   April 8th, 2010 4:01 pm ET

How does an AMERICAN court get to decide whether the WORLD'S books should be published on Google


John L   April 8th, 2010 4:02 pm ET

The copyright laws are SO unfriendly to the consumers. Do you know that if a youth group has a "sleep over" at a church, for instance, it is illegal to show a copyrighted work of entertainment content without getting a license for that "performance"? That's right. When you rent, or even purchase a DVD, you are only granted a license to "display" the work in you home, and then to only your household or a small group of "close friends". How antiquated! (Be especially careful with "certain" copyright owners: "Orlando" will dispatch a goon squad to get you!)


Jerom   April 8th, 2010 4:03 pm ET

@mommamarygetsawordin – When a publisher purchases the right to an image they typically purchase the right to use it in advertising for that book as well, such as is done in Amazon where the reproduction of it is directly advertising the sale of the book.

However, at a company that I used to work for that designed books for some of the major publishers had problems getting permission to post images of the books we designed on our web site or use in our marketing material from the publishers because they did not have the rights for us to use the images and were concerned about the potential for a lawsuit for copyright violation.


mommamarygetsawordin   April 8th, 2010 4:06 pm ET

@Jerom – You seem to misunderstand – I very specifically spoke about permission. The breech of copyright would be between the artist and the publisher. Google is just an adjunct and as long as they have permission from the copyright owner – then they are not in breech. I assumed the readers of this blog would understand that I meant current permission – but then I guess some will read what they want.


R H   April 8th, 2010 4:08 pm ET

Google makes huge profits, they should share these profits with the creators whose work the are using.

Seems obvious to me.


Megan   April 8th, 2010 4:11 pm ET

for the record, just because they are only showing "snippets" of books, doesn't mean they have not violated copyright law. Reproducing any part of a work, no matter how small, and distributing is infringement (think Vanilla ice...all he took was the beat right? not the whole song...). I appreciate that this is akin to thumbing through a book in B&N in THEORY, but B&N paid for that book...they did not illegally reproduce it. Bc Google has photocopied these works, they have violated copyright holder's reproduction and distribution rights under §106 of the copyright act.


Aaron   April 8th, 2010 4:15 pm ET

Isn't it legal to publicly play a short piece of music without paying royalties? I believe it's somewhere around 20-25 seconds worth. Where does the limitation come in play with books? Can you display 1 sentence? 1 page? 1 chapter? Can I use the word "the" publicly or do I have to pay royalties? I know that's an extreme example, but what are the limitations to referencing others works? You can't use Google Books and just sit down and read an entire book, but you can reference short portions. That seems like a huge advantage to the author as long as they are properly cited for the work.


Megan   April 8th, 2010 4:16 pm ET

additionally, just because an artist is dead or no longer writing, does not mean he no longer has copyright protection. Copyright is for the life of the artist plus 75 years, so unless the works are 75 years older than the date of the authors death, its still covered by copyright.

I have also seen mentioned that its ok because google is just ripping textbooks, research books, etc. These people also have intellectual property rights, even though they are not sterotypical "artists", so it is still illegal


TF   April 8th, 2010 4:19 pm ET

As a university student, Google books has often been very helpful to me. In my experience, they do not show even entire pages of most books. Recently I wrote a research paper and used the website to search for phrases, then found it in the hard copy of the book. It is a valuable tool.


Rycterman   April 8th, 2010 4:20 pm ET

IMO, the ones who are really getting paid are the lawyers that are litigating this, regardless of the outcome of this case ALL the lawyers will be paid, so the longer this goes on and more people involved the more the lawyers make so they are going to take whatever they can to court, regardless if it is right or even logical.


Aaron   April 8th, 2010 4:21 pm ET

"The Fair Use doctrine allows copyrighted works to be reproduced for limited purposes, such as teaching, news reporting, criticism, comment, and research."

By the way... I ripped that off of Google.


Jerom   April 8th, 2010 4:27 pm ET

@mommamarygetsawordin – I am speaking as someone who has worked in the publishing industry and so my use of the terms reflects that. A book has a copyright, but the copyright of a photograph in that book is not part of the copyright of the book itself, and may be retained by the photographer (or illustrator). The publisher may have the right to give permission to Google to display their book, but not necessarily my image. Weather it is the publishers that should contact the copyright owner or Googles and negotiate the new distribution rights doesn't matter, the distribution of the image outside the bounds of the original agreement is in violation of copyright law, so if the publishers are giving permission for Google to use the image maybe they should be named in the lawsuit as well, but it is Google who is distributing the image without owning the permission to do so.


An artist (whatever that is)   April 8th, 2010 4:27 pm ET

The digital revolution means that undigitized art will most likely be forgotten, unfortunately. Also unfortunately is that all of these people can't accept that soon art will be just as useless (financially) as it always was meant to be. People create art out of a passion for creating art, not for making money. Money is just a bonus. There are too many laws in the world, too many regulations. I know a cup of cofffee is hot, when i order it hot so why do i need a label? Art isn't meant to be paid for, art is meant to be appreciated. And appreciation, I don't know if you can put a price on that.


Mel   April 8th, 2010 4:33 pm ET

I love using Google Books for researching what book a particular quote first appeared in, and for copyright information on the books. Their snippet view function would seem to qualify as fair use, but from the user's POV it's kind of maddening when you can only see one or two lines of the text and are trying to verify something. Showing multiple full pages of text or a complete work such as an image, however, is clearly a violation if they don't have permission (though it's quite useful!). I'd like to see them work out arrangements with publishers to be able to show more material, and compensate them fairly.


An Artist   April 8th, 2010 4:40 pm ET

It is about time that people and business realized that you can't go stealing copyrighted work with out paying the penalty! As an artist I have seen my worked ripped time and time again with no reguard for my rights to my own work.
This is not waste of time, but something that is sorely needed.


rjw   April 8th, 2010 4:42 pm ET

How my seeing a preview of a book online substantially different from me thumbing through the same book at the local public library? Why don't they start with a class action suit against the public library system?

I agree with an earlier poster...by and large their contracts are with publishers. It's the publishers who should be making a big deal about the digitizing of books.


Les   April 8th, 2010 4:43 pm ET

As an avid reader, I am appalled at this lawsuit. I have purchased many books because I found them online in Google Books first. Photographers and artists are paid for their work by the publisher period. The greed being shown by this lawsuit is inexcusable. Take another picture and sell it. Knowledge should be freely available to all. The benefit of a library on-line is far more important than this modern notion that an artist should presume they own something after they sell it. Is there a list that names the people involved in this suit so we can avoid purchasing books that use their work? Google Books is a LIBRARY. Get a clue!


Steve   April 8th, 2010 4:46 pm ET

Kind of humors me especially when talking about photographs. Does it take talent to take a great picture? Of course, but what is it in the photograph that you are showing? If you take a picture of the White House and get compensated for that picture, but some of the logic here, shouldn't the photographer have to pay the architect and the builder of the White House royalties for every picture they distribute? Who is the original creator of what is in the photographs....


Satago   April 8th, 2010 4:48 pm ET

Les,

Google books isn't a library. It just isn't.

It will probably end up replacing "the library", which is a shame because my daughter and grandchildren will get their info from a private company with it's own agenda.


ramblnrev   April 8th, 2010 4:54 pm ET

Publishing a portion of a book is one thing. Publishing a portion of the artwork, illustration or photograph would be the equivalent. But when the image is shown in its entirety the comparison between the book and the image falls apart. These are indeed two different issues. Granted, low res images may deter physical piracy of the images but it does not deter unauthorized use in other digital contexts.


Brad   April 8th, 2010 4:55 pm ET

This lawsuit strikes me as both greedy and short-sighted when you consider how many books are being sold as a result of excepts and sample photos being posted on the internet. The plaintiffs don't mention that.


not your profession   April 8th, 2010 4:57 pm ET

Those of you who claim the artist/photographer/illustrator "has been compensated by the publisher and now wants double payment" - you don't know anything about any industry that sells intellectual material. Our royalty compensation is miniscule, to say the least. So no wonder we don't want to give any of it up. We don't mind pages being shown on amazon as a sales tool. We don't mind physical books available free in not-for-profit libraries. We DO MIND having our work displayed as a means of of attracting people to a website (which enables the website to sell advertising space) without compensating us. This is WRONG. Songwriters get paid EVERY SINGLE TIME THEIR SONG IS PLAYED ON THE RADIO. That's because their work attracts listeners, which enables the radio station to sell advertising airtime. Why shouldn't I get paid every single time my artwork/photography is displayed on the internet to attract viewers?? And why shouldn't I get paid when my copyrighted writing is offered for free to viewers? I created this stuff and it's what I sell for a living. It would not exist without me. Google has no right to display it free to attract people for their own profit. People who are criticizing the lawsuit know nothing about selling your creations. They get a regular paycheck and aren't dependent upon the royalty system, which already is stacked against the artist, who only gets a tiny fraction from a bizarre formula. Such critics are criticizing something about which they have ZERO knowledge or experience. Do us a favor and comment on something in which you are qualified.


Les   April 8th, 2010 5:01 pm ET

Sorry. I meant that it could become a Library and avoid the hue and cry. Instead of excerpts they could then post the entire work like Gutenberg does. So far as viewers 'stealing' content for their own use is concerned, private non-commercial use is well within the 'fair use' clauses. Sorry for the misunderstanding. As an artist, I am happy when someone buys my work. I do not expect to continue being paid for that individual work after I sell it.


not your profession   April 8th, 2010 5:05 pm ET

And by the way, we aren't all dead, as a commentor seems to think. I've got copyrights that will be valid for another 50 years and I do not want to give my stuff away for free.
And NO – libraries and Google are NOT the same. Far from it. That's like saying because you can hear a song for free on the radio, you shouldn't have to buy it from itunes if you want to listen to it whenever you like. You can hear a snipet of it on itunes, but if you want to listen to the whole thing whenever you like, you must buy your own copy. Well, if you want to read my books or look at my photography whenever you like, you need to buy a copy, not just log onto Google and see the whole thing for free. Or, go check it out at your local library for free. I have no problem with that. But obviously, you don't want to bother - you want it at your fingertips. Sorry, but you've gotta pay for that. Just like you gotta pay for that song you heard on the radio that you now want on your ipod.


John L   April 8th, 2010 5:12 pm ET

One thing that has always griped me is the portrait photographer that I pay to take pictures of myself and family. My belief is that I am the subject of the "work", and that I paid the guy a fee for doing the work, the "work" should belong to me – not the bozo clicking the shutter.


Mike   April 8th, 2010 5:12 pm ET

I know about photography. I was once in a photograph


SLN   April 8th, 2010 5:13 pm ET

I am an architect, and I suggest that any time when a building appears in a photo, the photographer pays the architect. This copyright thing is now going too far, it starts to hold back human from moving forward; and prevents Disney create anything beyond Mickey Mouse for 80 years.


Mike   April 8th, 2010 5:14 pm ET

Hey john, if he is such a bozo, why do you hire him?


Mark   April 8th, 2010 5:15 pm ET

not your profession,

You are 100% correct. For all those supporting Google I still haven't had any of them respond to my proposal... I have a website CleverJokes.com... would it be appropriate for me to start scanning images out of a Farside book to put on my joke site so that i can attract more visitors without paying the creator of those images a penny? See I expect I would get sued quickly by the publisher of FarSide for using their images in their book without permission, even if I only used one a day and only a small percent of their book.

That is the part that people supporting Google in this do not get. They are not doing thing for humanitarian reasons any more than I would be posting Farside pictures on my joke site for the academic reasons. People may like coming to my site and seeing free Farside pictures each day. I could even suggest that me showing pictures from their book may encourage one of my visitors to buy one. But the thing here is that if I were really wanting to use these pictures from the book, I NEED TO GET PERMISSION FIRST! And that is where Google wants to turn it around. They want to be able to select and choose whatever they want from books without permission then wait for someone to specifically call them out on it. They want to put the work on the publishers of books and content creators to police Google's use of content they didn't even make.

Last let's compare it to the library scenerio. How about Google has to purchase a copy of the book for every similtaneous viewer of the information just like a library does. So if the excert from Tiger Woods book along with the pictures happens to get 3,000 people looking at it at once over a given month, then Google could then cough up the money for 3,000 books just like a library would have to do if they checked out 3,000 of the same book at once.


Mike   April 8th, 2010 5:15 pm ET

John L. Then who owns photographs of nature? God


Jerom   April 8th, 2010 5:15 pm ET

@Les – Read some of my earlier posts. Photographs, and to a lesser extent Illustrations are purchased by publishers for limited use, this saves them money on the purchase.

For example if they use a photo at 2" x 3" on an interior page of a color book that will have a distribution of 10,000 copies for sale in the United States then it will cost them $100. If they are going to use it full page at the beginning of a chapter it may be $150. If it is on the cover it might be $400. If the publisher licenses it for 20,000 copies it would be a bit more, digital distribution a bit more. World wide distribution a bit more. If the publisher wants exclusive rights however it might cost them $1,000 or more.

When the distribution goes beyond the agreed upon and paid for rights then it is a violation of copyright. It is basically the same as having someone work overtime without paying them for it.


xboxboi   April 8th, 2010 5:16 pm ET

hahaha .. "do no evil" 😛 put copyrighted contents on Google get plenty of $$$ from ads and clicks and then scream "do no evil" to reuters, AFP, CNN, FOX News, NYT, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal. Steve Jobs had already got his Karma – (bad health) for his years of promoting "abuse/discrimination etc" (by encouraging kids to poke fun of PC users at school that they are uncool and they are geeky – reminds us of bullies at school?) via his PC vs MAC ads to increase sales that translate to $$$. I am waiting to see karma catches with Google owners..


not your profession   April 8th, 2010 5:16 pm ET

Sebras, how do you know what the details of my contract with my publisher are? I frequently retain the copyright myself. I LICENSE my work to the publisher. Google is WRONG to infringe on my copyright. What makes you think you can assume that the publisher owns the copyright? Your ignorance is showing. If you don't have a dog in this fight, just hush.


RickyV   April 8th, 2010 5:17 pm ET

wake up people!!!! this is just another way to censor and control the internet...don't go crying about royalties and copyrights, this will be another excuse to add to the pile that the "powers that be" will use to centralize the internet into a main server so the flow of information can be controled....wake up to 1984 people


Mike   April 8th, 2010 5:20 pm ET

You hire a photographer because he/she is talented at taking photos. You then pay the photographer for any images you want to buy. Why is it somehow wrong for the photographer to do this?


not your profession   April 8th, 2010 5:20 pm ET

Bob, if going to the library, picking up a book and flipping through it to look at the images is satisfactory to you, why don't you just do that instead of wanting to get it free from Google? Obviously, you want the convenience of online. Google is using my work to satisfy your desire. Then, by attracting you to their website, they are charging advertisers to display ads to you. Google makes money. I don't. I created the content. Google didn't.
NOW can you see what's wrong with this picture?


Mike   April 8th, 2010 5:22 pm ET

Eat a dick sandwich


Jerom   April 8th, 2010 5:25 pm ET

@ SLN – There are buildings that you have to have permission to print a representation of. In particular the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio which is trademarked. When I have used photos of this building in books we had to get permission from and pay the stock agency and then go to the Hall of Fame to get permission to use the photo we purchased rights to.

Other than that a building is slightly different since it publicly viewable, however the design of the building and it's floor plan I believe are protected by copyright unless you explicitly (in a contract) gave those rights to the client, that is unless you are an employee of an agency then your employer holds the copyright.


Mike   April 8th, 2010 5:26 pm ET

Hey Jerom,

eat a dick sandwich. you would love it


bob   April 8th, 2010 5:26 pm ET

Soogle.


semi   April 8th, 2010 5:27 pm ET

Let's unpack this:

>1) If the illustrators have already been paid royalties by the publishing companies, they shouldn't receive another payment.2) Google Books isn't selling books or the illustrations, it is only offering previews of the books. It's the same as if you walked through Walmart and thumbed through a few pages. If you want to sue Google for this, you have to sue all retailers by this logic. Basically anyone who allows anyone else to see any portion of any book that the viewer doesn't own is at fault, according to this logic.3) This preview service increases the number of books sold–it is beneficial. The less people are able to preview books, the fewer books will be sold. The fewer books sold, the less valuable the illustrations. The less valuable the illustrations, the less the illustrators will be compensated. Don't bite the hand that feeds, noobs.<

It's irrelevant whether it increases sales or not. Intentions don't matter in copyright violations.


Mike   April 8th, 2010 5:28 pm ET

There are building that have a viewing copyright. If you look at it you must pay the builder of the building a dollar or give them a dick sandwich instead.


Mike   April 8th, 2010 5:29 pm ET

Hey semi, you too need a dick sandwich


LS   April 8th, 2010 5:30 pm ET

I don't understand why Google hasn't been sued into oblivion by thousands of book authors. I have a book coming out this year and I'll sure as heck sue if they scan it so that no one has to buy it. Writing is a professional service, and when it's taken away from us and given away for free we are robbed of income for our services.


Mike   April 8th, 2010 5:31 pm ET

I'm going to unpack my lunch and charge google a dollar


Mike   April 8th, 2010 5:32 pm ET

LS,

You have been robbed of a dick sandwich


Mike   April 8th, 2010 5:33 pm ET

If you eat a dick sandwich, you must not photograph it. That would be strange


Ashley'Mom   April 8th, 2010 5:37 pm ET

I have previewed books on google books and then went out and purchased the ones that caught my interest. I shouldn't have to pay for a commerical and I wouldn't I think the authors and artists should be paying google.


not your profession   April 8th, 2010 5:39 pm ET

IMHO – just because Google displays an image I produced during their reproduction of a book does NOT mean that I will benefit from the exposure to the public....my photography credit is in the back of the book. It's not on the photo that is suddenly free for all to see. Same with my hand-drawn illustrations. So quit telling me how great the "exposure" is. Even if you liked my work and wanted to buy it or hire me, you don't have a clue that I'm the one who created the work. So this "exposure" does me no good at all. Trust me, I've had enough copyrighted writing ripped off and posted free on websites to know that my name does not get exposure along with my work. People think they can lift work straight out of a magazine or book and use it for free to attract people to their site. Google is doing this on a grand scale. Those of us who are in publishing for a living aren't "dying to be published" and "seeking exposure". We've been published. We have exposure. Printed works include our names with our work - it's negotiated in the contract. Why would digital media get to leave our names off - no credit - and not pay us? What was the point of all that contract negotiation, anyway? We are seeking compensation for work produced. Simple as that.


Chris Tyrell’s Blog › “Visual artists sue Google over copyright issues” (CNN)   April 8th, 2010 5:43 pm ET

[...] images in books it scans, without fairly compensating the people who created the images.... more. (CNN website) This was written by chris. Posted on Thursday, April 8, 2010, at 2:43 pm. Filed [...]


Matt   April 8th, 2010 5:46 pm ET

Its funny to think that if Google didnt scan all these books and media, most people would never know they existed, further diminishing their sales.

my question to you, why do libraries provide copiers that are used to duplicate copyrighted images and text? isnt google basically doing the same thing?

Also, LS no one cares about your book, and you would be stupid not to want it scanned... people google things, they dont search for them. Just be glad for the free marketing. Or, i suppose you have better resources to market your book...?


R Posey   April 8th, 2010 5:51 pm ET

The world needs these books to be available over the internet for a rational cost. If we are talking about the whole book, then that is a much easier case, since clearly there should be compensation for the creators in that case. However, what is needed is a way for selected pieces of the book to be available at reasonable cost. Some method for this compensation needs to be worked out, but its not that simple to do.

1. Many picture, or technical books are primarily bought to access a small part of the total book, such as a key table. Thus, pricing based on the percentage of the copyrighted material may not work.

2. There are thousands of books that are out of print, and are very unlikely to sell another copy, do these get the same return as a best seller? Note if Google includes the ability to pay for the rest of the out of print material and shares this money, these creators should be very happy.

3. When you search for something, how does Google tell what parts you actually use, or even read. Its not fair to make you pay for everything that turns up in the search, but do not use. Bookstores do charge you to look at books to see if they are right for you.

4. The idea of low resolution pictures in the database, with charges for high resolution might be expanded for technical tables, equations etc by selective deletions of material from each page. Again more detail at a price, and the returns should be shared.

Of course since I create new SW Algorithms for a living, and I can not get patents for the basic algorithm, the hard part, I do not have a problem with selective display of information from Google. The idea should be to tie it to the ability to get the rest of the information for a price, which would be share with the creators.

Note many of the books Google have put up are out of copyright, and thus are in the public domain.


Shawn in MN   April 8th, 2010 5:55 pm ET

Hey CNN there was a major ruling on Net Neutrality today. Where is news on that? It does affect CNN you know.


R Posey   April 8th, 2010 5:58 pm ET

I thought of another idea.

If Google finds the idea of selective editing of images by low resolution or removal of key data from tables, drawings etc too hard. They could continue with their current method, but have a pay for view concept. In other words, if 100 people in the world are using a book, then they have to pay for 100 copies. Of course they will have to work out a deal to understand what using a book is.
The problem is that if you buy or check out a book you are able to use completely for the time period you own it. The fact that Google displays you an image from a book is not at all equal unless you down load it, or extract and retain vital information from it.

However, if Book publishers do not get ahead of the problem in a way that enables the product to be purchases reasonably in digital form, they will suffer like the music industry. The are not going to stop this form of use, they need to follow iTunes example and get ahead of the curve or they will lose.


Jerom   April 8th, 2010 6:07 pm ET

When someone posts a copyrighted video on UTube it must be taken down when it is discovered, but Google gets away with posting copyrighted material and when the copyright owners call them out on it is they who are demonized as being "Greedy" when it is their intellectual property that has been stolen... Google is not the victim here, it is the Illustrators, Photographers, writers and publishers.


J. Keller   April 8th, 2010 6:25 pm ET

Ok, sense here people – again, let's be clear, they ARE NOT GIVING AWAY UNLIMITED FREE COPIES OF BOOKS ONLINE – do you understand this point? Man, how dense do we have to be? Ok, now onto the point the illustrators/artists have made about the snippets. Very good point, and true, if the snippet provided does happen to contain your entire contribution to the printed work, I can see how you would feel like you haven't been fairly compensated, HOWEVER , and think about this – how is that ANY DIFFERENT from me going down to barns and noble and thumbing through the book, ALSO seeing ALL of your contribution to the book – do I now owe you a royalty because your work has merely been seen by my eyes? No! If I bought a copy to take home and own, you get compensated. Can this be done with google books, no! I cannot get a complete copy of the printed work to own by using google books. Do artists who's works are on display in public galleries deserve payment for every set of eyes that are laid on their artwork, I think not. Google is offering a VIEWER to portions of these books, not offering your own personal copy of these snippets. Illustrators and artists are compensated by the publisher, so you HAVE been paid, and get paid whenever a printed copy is sold. In fact, the point has been made, and I agree, that this has the liklihood of increasing sales for you, so why do you complain? Last time I checked, books were not 'pay per view' works, but rather 'pay to get a copy of to own and enjoy' works.


Bill   April 8th, 2010 6:25 pm ET

"So it ok for the book to be in libraries where millions of people can see their illustrations and photos for free, but if its viewable on the internet we call foul...."

Obviously you are an imbecile.

Anyway, Google and others have made big business out of stealing the rights of recording artists to make a living from their hard work. It is ironic that supposed music lovers would be so callous as to the effect this has on the musical community.

It's about time that the visual artists struck back.

It's unfortunate that we are not able to steal the rights of others to make a living, so that they would be able to see the murder they have visited upon the music community in the name of freedom.


not your profession   April 8th, 2010 6:32 pm ET

Semi – You said: 1) If the illustrators have already been paid royalties by the publishing companies, they shouldn't receive another payment.

Hmm, evidently, you don't understand what royalties are. They are very small ongoing payments that are specified by a contract. You aren't "already paid" royalties...these are ongoing payments. (Understand what ongoing means??)To throw the contract out the window and use the work - without making a royalty payment - to earn a profit (by selling ad space to vendors on the basis of attracting viewers to a website) is wrong. It's illegal. It's also unethical.

Don't believe me? Try renting a DVD and then charging people to come view it. You'll find out soon enough that you are in violation of intellectual property laws. Google is also in violation of such laws.

The opposite of royalties are flat fees. This is when a creator (writer, artist, photog) is paid a flat fee to create something specific and gives up all rights. This is upfront payment is usually much, much larger than then teeny-tiny royalty payments. But if you take the flat fee, you will not earn anything else, no many how many copies are sold. So it's a gamble. It cost the publisher less money up front to pay royalties instead of a flat fee, so everyone is all in the game together and hopes to produce a winner. For a creator to actually enjoy a profit from his work under the royalty system, the payments have to be ongoing as the work continues to be sold. Over time, a profit is accrued. If you suddenly disrupt the timeline and offer the creation for free, then the work is being used and the creator is not getting a royalty payment. But they didn't get a flat fee, either, so they are getting screwed. That's because it's an either-or system. Either get paid once and bank on it or take a little tiny bit at a time for many years. Everyone has to play fair for the system to work. Google is NOT playing fair.

Once again, we have someone who obviously isn't earning any royalty payments commenting on something they don't understand. If you aren't dependent on a system, how can you tell me that my rights under that system don't count? You don't know what you're are talking about, that much is clear in your very first comment, shown above.


not your profession   April 8th, 2010 6:33 pm ET

Not only do I own the copyrights to my works, I also own the e-rights. I do NOT give them away when I sign a contract with a conventional publisher. No one has the right to publish my work online without my permission. And I don't give permission without compensation unless I want to help out a NON-PROFIT group. Google makes a HUGE PROFIT. Why should they get my work for free???


Sky Galyen   April 8th, 2010 6:36 pm ET

As usual, it's where some want more than their fair share and attempt to squeeze as much as they can out of any source. It's simple, Google is no more guilty than the local library or school that shows the same exact thing. Rule #1 on the internet, if you place something on the internet, it is now EVERYWHERE.... simple enough. If you do not want your 'art' shared on the net, then don't place it there! If you don't want your painting to be viewed, then never show it in public! I mean i can go by a gallery and snap a photo thru the window, and that is theft???? Let's quit this crap and get rid of the FRIVOLOUS laws suits.


Writer   April 8th, 2010 6:44 pm ET

It amazes me how people do not understand the meaning of a copyright. It's about ownership. When you buy a book, you own the paper it is printed on, but you do not own the story. When you buy a CD, you own the piece of plastic it is recorded on, but you do not own the songs. Someone else does–a writer, a producer, a musician, an artist or a combination. The point is: THEY OWN IT; YOU DO NOT. You don't get to decide that they've already been paid enough for their creations any more than I get to decide you've had plenty of time to drive your car and should now let others drive it for free. If the rights of artists are not respected, why should they continue to create? Yes, we need to figure this out so that new media can make information available. Let's just remember who the rightful owners are.


when you don't know, it's called ignorance   April 8th, 2010 6:45 pm ET

Telefonica –
You wrote:
I'm not sure what the relationship is between publishers and visual artists, but I would venture to guess that the publishers own the rights to the contents of the books, and not the artists themselves. So if the publisher says it's ok to publish an image on Google's website, the artist has no say.

Maybe if you don't know, you should not comment. You've ventured a guess based on ignorance. You are WRONG. The publishers do NOT own the rights to the contents of the books UNLESS those rights are sold per the specifications of the contract. Many creators merely LICENSE their work to the publishers. The creators still own the rights. Many creators negotiate this point carefully, even taking lower advances (less $ up front) in order to maintain control over the rights. This can be true of artists and authors. Sometimes, the author and the artist is the same person. I am.
So yes, we DO have a say in the Google situation. And yet, you - who are ignorant of the facts - are telling me that I don't have a say...what a strange world. I'm venturing a guess that you've never had anything published...


Lawrence   April 8th, 2010 6:56 pm ET

Get a life. If I announce that I fly in a BOEING 707.....do I have to pay Boeing a royalty? GHC......can we get more picky than THIS.


me too   April 8th, 2010 6:57 pm ET

What a bunch of crap.........its a friggen book. its in the library. Whats the difference? So, one person can get it, read it, return it, then another person gets it and does the same. there is no limit. This is no different from having it on the web except to allow more efficient use of hte material. Authors should be PRAISING GOOGLE for hte exposure, not trying to stop them. The authors dont complain when someone searches for their book to buy online USING GOOGLE. BIPOLAR MORONS.........


NSL15   April 8th, 2010 7:01 pm ET

I am one of the photographers being represented in this class action suit. It's clear from the comments above, in my opinion, that most people have little or no understanding of the issues, nor of royalties, nor of the problem of the Google Books Library Project for photographers, artists, illustrators, etc. Permit me to explain. If you don't agree or don't like what I have to say, that's your right, but I hope you will consider what I've said here.

1. Royalties: Once a book with a photographer's work in it is published, the photographer's compensation for the work may or may not be complete. The photographer may get a one time payment, or the photographer may get a negotiated royalty for their portion of published work according to the contract agreed to by the author and the publisher, similar to the author which is often based on an amount for every book published, or some measure based on the success of the sale of the book. Therefore you cannot say that once the book is published, the photographer is owed nothing more.

2. It's true that if I as a photographer puts my photographs on the Internet to be seen, whatever happens is on my head. The same is not true if someone else decides to scan one of my photographs without my permission and displays my photograph on the web, whether or not I want it displayed. In the case of the Google Books Library Project, Google is not giving photographers a choice. They are making the decision to display our work, and to make matters worse, are not compensating us for displaying our work.

3. Libraries (Brick and Mortar type): Libraries buy books and lend them out. Libraries don't buy a book, then copy it several times, so it can lend out multiple copies. If they want to lend multiple copies, they buy multiple copies. In turn, the person borrowing the book doesn't get to scan any part of the book more than possibly a small excerpt for their reading pleasure, and they don't get to use the small excerpt for any commercial purpose whatsoever. Google is a commercial operation and is gaining from people reading their excerpts via their advertising.

3. It is true with regard to text, that the Google Books Library Project is only displaying a small percentage of each copyrighted book, and therefore, the author is in little danger, and it would appear on the face of the issues there is no copyright infringement.

That's text. The same isn't true of photographs or illustrations.

Each photograph or illustration on the excerpted pages, unlike the text, is a complete work of the photographer. In other words the photographs and illustrations scanned and displayed are complete works of art unto themselves, and they are copyrighted works of art. Scanning and displaying complete works is a copyright violation. In the case of the way Google is running the Google Books Library Project, photographs and text are 2 very different animals, and how copyrighting works, for each photograph and illustration, we believe is completely different than text.

I can tell you that as a group, photographers and illustrators gave these issues a great deal of thought. Our livelihood depends on our ability to sell our work. We believe Google, through the Google Books Library Project has seriously diminished that ability, and therefore our ability to make a living.


at least try to understand the issue   April 8th, 2010 7:05 pm ET

Sky, we DIDN'T "place our work on the internet"...that's the whole point. Google is scanning physical books and placing the contents on the internet without permission and without compensation.

I own the rights to my work. I carefully negotiate licensing for both conventional (hardcopy) publishing AND for e-publishing. This is specified in my contract with the publisher. No one can publish my work in any form - hardcopy or online - except by following the terms of my signed contract.

Google is a third party. They have no rights to my work. None. Whatsover.

And by the way, if you take a photo of a painting through a gallery window and then post in on your website, you are breaking the law. You actually aren't even supposed to take the picture... I didn't invent the law but it does exist. The artist owns the rights to that work of art. Ever noticed how when you go into a "real" art museum that NO PHOTOGRAPHY is allowed? There are signs everywhere. Just like you're not supposed to record a concert you attend. Sure, some people break the law. Some people break all kinds of laws. Does that mean we should throw the laws out the windows and let large corporations do whatever they want because they're too powerful to stop? (Sounds a bit too much like "too big to fail"...)

Don't tell me that I "put" my work on the internet when I did not - Google took it. At least try to understand the issue before being a know-it-all.


Jeff   April 8th, 2010 7:05 pm ET

Solard Guy
Google is not indexing these books already on line. Google is going out and scanning in hard copies of the books. Google is clearly in copyright violation. Google is a for profit company and they are using other peoples works to enhance Google so they can charge advertisers more money, yet Google doesn't want to share this advertising income with the copyright holders.


Sans   April 8th, 2010 7:07 pm ET

There are various agreements we artists make in order to be paid for our work, but the point is that the publishers, etc. agree to pay us, be it a flat fee, per print, what have you.
If we don't get paid for our work, we can't make all of the nice pictures, books, songs, video games, and every other shiny little prize that people seem to feel they're owed.
Any argument trying to justify taking something and not compensating the one that made it for their efforts is both ignorant and selfish, mostly selfish. All of the trolling and so-called arguments weakly trying to justify that still come down to the same thing: "We're selfish and want that, and we intend to take it. So there!" ...except maybe the trolling; there is no point there, except the amusement that really doesn't escape their own thoughts. They spend more time re-reading and snickering at their own comments than anyone else.
Some of those studies showing the average social maturity age as being 12 are surely being validated by these silly arguments, but then even the brightest and most helpful twelve-year-old's look back many years later and say, "Gee, I was really ignorant and selfish back then." Far too many people never even reach that point, and society is sadly reflecting it.


Dave4337   April 8th, 2010 7:18 pm ET

Report Scams. Help Warn Others!!

http://www.WhoScammedYou.com


canadaguy   April 8th, 2010 7:24 pm ET

A library buys a copy and a person has to actually handle the real object to make use of it.

In Canada, writers actually get a fee based on the number of libraries that their books are in. This is in addition to the royalty from the sale of the book.


Team6   April 8th, 2010 7:31 pm ET

Copyright is retarded and one day it will be outed. This is coming from a programmer. Digital copyright is even more stupid, but not as stupid as the snide comments with which you want to respond to this. The era of copyrights and patents will be known as the Information Dark Ages.


mike   April 8th, 2010 7:32 pm ET

Google should just shut it down and be done with it. We tried to make snippits of this stuff visable to the world...oh well


Joe Canada   April 8th, 2010 7:52 pm ET

I'm so glad that I live in Canada, where we can copy whatever we want and not have to feel the consequences.


NP   April 8th, 2010 7:53 pm ET

I've always thought that this royalty business was a bunch of crap. The people the create material get paid once, then expect to keep getting paid for the same work. As a carpenter, I wonder if I can go back to every structure I built a stairway in and hit up the owners for a "royalty" for everytime the stairway is used, surely there's a value that can be calculated based on its use.


Jerom   April 8th, 2010 7:58 pm ET

@Team6 – Copyrights, trademarks, and patents are very important to the very fiber of our economic system. They are not outdated just because the Internet came into being and a bunch of people think that everything should be freely available online.

Google takes full advantage of them when it suits them, and I'm sure they would be more aggressive than the illustrators and photographers have been in protecting their copyrights, trademarks, and patents.


mike   April 8th, 2010 8:15 pm ET

@NP
Great idea as an electrician wonder if I can use the same logic and get paid for that first electrical floor plan i created 20 years ago that is the basis for the house thats still sitting there today...the new owners havent paid me a cent for the work i put into that design and implementation.


Sunshine   April 8th, 2010 8:21 pm ET

I have spent several hundred dollars buying books that I found by googling information. Wow, pretty short sighted.


chris   April 8th, 2010 8:22 pm ET

Don't like your hard work taken away and given away freely to others? Lol welcome to socialism you liberal artists!

It's a stretch, i know. But I find it ironic.


Jerom   April 8th, 2010 8:23 pm ET

@NP – you obviously do not understand how the publishing world work or what a royalty is.

When an author is published they do not sell their work, as you do when you create a staircase, they enter into what basically amounts to a partnership with the publisher where they get a portion of ALL THE SALES during the LIFE of the published work. They sometimes but not always receive an advance on their royalty payments, and if they do then they do not get anything until the advance is covered by their royalties of the sale of the book. Also there are different publication rights that authors negotiate, print is just one but they can also negotiate for digital and audio rights separately and at times will sign on with different publishers for some of these. They also might have different publishers in different countries.

With photographs and illustrations (what the above story is really about) the arrangements are sometimes different. Typically when I was working in publishing we either hired a photographer as a work-for hire where we owned all rights to the photographs or we bought limited rights to USE the image, which costs less up front in most cases. The Photographer doesn't charge as much for the image up front because in maintaining their copyright of the image and selling limited rights to it they can sell the rights to it again for another use, and this is one of the ways that they make money.

The important thing to remember here is the photographer typically owns that image, not the publisher, and just because it is in the book does not mean that it is part of that book. The publisher has just "Rented" it for a specific time and use, if they want to use it again in another book or even in a different chapter then they need to pay for it again. If the agreed period of time has expired, or the agreed number of copies of the publication have been printed then they need to pay for it again if they want to continue using it.


9898   April 8th, 2010 8:28 pm ET

Some questions
Do the artists get money(royality) if someone looks at their work?
Do book stores cover the images and illustrations before putting the book on display?
Do you go to a bookstore look at all the illustrations and images and say okay now i don't need the book?
Even if there is only one image in the book and google indexes it or you see it in a bookstore artists will not make money.
There are laws against illegal use of copyrighted material. So any person downloading without permission or using material will be covered by it.
These artists can think of this as free advertisement in a magazine or newspaper. People can make copy of that too incase you forgot.


chris   April 8th, 2010 8:36 pm ET

Team6, without copyrights or patents, there is absolutely no point in investing into research and development or even product innovation. There is also no barrier against misleading or false advertising or merchandising. Any shmoe could stick a CocaCola or Microsoft logo on any product and sell knock-offs, etc.


Megan   April 8th, 2010 8:36 pm ET

the people who suggest that this lawsuit refuses to face up to technology is nonsensical. No one is suggesting that the service Google seeks to provide is not a valuable one. It is, unquestionably. The difficulty is that they are going about it illegally. Think Napster...nobody would suggest being able to download all your music offline rather than having to go through CDs is not a valuable tool....however it was illegal then to do it without compensating the artist. Hence the development of iTunes, etc where music may be downloaded at a price. Similarly, Google will provide this same service in the future...they will simply have to pay for the rights to do so.


it's like waiting tables   April 8th, 2010 8:39 pm ET

Okay, try to understand:
The waiter can legally be paid less than minimum wage because the American system calls for the difference to be made up in tips. If the waiter also works many hours when the restaurant isn't open for business (waiters are some places also have to arrive early to prep the salad bar, stay late to close and clean, etc), the waiter is still paid less than minimum wage for those hours. And it's legal. So when you don't tip, you are really screwing the waiter, big time. In Spain, the waiters are fully sompensated by the restaurant and so the customer is not expected to tip. Like it or not, the American system is legally recognized by the IRS and the waiter can be taxed on an estimate of tips, even if his hourly wage averages out to less. This old system is in place and it is legal and that's why waiters feel they are due their tips when they work hard and offer good service. Like it or not, it's the system they must operate under.

Publishing is very similar. The system is antiquated. Books are sold ON CONSIGNMENT. If you want to sell socks in your store, you purchase a load of socks from a wholesaler and hope you can sell them for a higher retail price. If no one buys them, it's your tough luck. But if you want to sell books in your store, you get to "borrow" the books. That is, if the books don't sell in your store, YOU GET TO SEND THEM BACK TO THE PUBLISHER and get your money back!!! So a book isn't sold when a bookstore places an order for it. It's only considered sold when a consumer walks out the door with it. Books are perhaps one of the ONLY consumer products sold this way. This system has its roots in the Great Depression. Publishing has evolved around this. So it's hard for publishers to make money on books. Therefore, they must put out as little cash up front as possible. Hence, the royalty system. It's a way for publishers to share the risk and then later, share the rewards if a book does turn out to be a successful seller. THIS IS WHY AUTHORS AND ARTISTS GET ROYALTIES AND ELECTRICIANS DON'T. We are NOT being compensated in full when we complete the job. We may not ever be compensated in full. But perhaps we'll get lucky and make a little money off of royalties. If we're really talented and lucky, perhaps we'll make a lot.
It's a very old system and it kind of sucks. But don't call us who are stuck operating under it "greedy" just because we must count our pennies when they are due to us. (And I do mean pennies per actual sale...and that's only on a full-priced book. If the retail price is slashed, the creators get no royalties at all in many cases.)

Free access to material that's for sale cuts into sales. Don't believe me? Take a look at how many magazines have gone under in recent years. Their websites brought them "exposure" but also undercut their subscriptions and hence, their ad sales.

So creators are right to be concerned about Google offering access to their work for free. And creators must get their royalties UNLESS publishing is going to change and we get paid in full, up front when the job is completed, the way the rest of you other people do. SO STOP CRITICIZING US FOR TRYING TO GET PAID.


Jerom   April 8th, 2010 8:43 pm ET

@Mike and NP – as an electrician or a carpenter you charge an hourly rate for your work, and collect a wage from that based off of what the market will bear and the value of your work. Photographers sometimes work this way with a work-for-hire contract, and if so they are payed for their time.

Another way to work is selling limited rights. This is much like a movie ticket, if you buy one for the 12:00 showing of Star Trek 86 and you decide to stay to see The Revenge of Harry Potter at 2:30 then The Dukes of Hazard 2100 at 6:00 that is "Theft" and you can be arrested for it.

Publishers typically pay for limited use of the photographs which costs them less, and the photographer retains the copyright. The photographer can do this because since they own the copyright they can sell it again. So if they spend a day of work, setting up lighting, paying a model, etc for a photoshoot to get a photograph that may cost them $500-$1000 and get 2 "good" photos out of it. To make a profit the sell the rights to 5-10 companies to "use" for them to break even if they charge an average of $100 per use. To make a living doing this you need to sell it a lot more than that.


Megan   April 8th, 2010 8:45 pm ET

I should further clarify that I am well aware most people still do not pay for music, just as they dont pay for anything they pull from the internet. However, just because this is the state of society and the internet does not make it any less illegal. The law remains the same, and it quite clearly states that reproducing and distributing another's work without permission is copyright infringement (see §106 of the copyright act). I have seen several suggest that this law is antiquated, but in reality this area of law is changes continuously due to changes in media....it is keeping up with the times. I appreciate that we all like something for free, but the reality is that these writers/artists deserve compensation for their work. Without payment there is no incentive to create works, without incentive we lose out on so much art, music, and literature.


wendy   April 8th, 2010 9:26 pm ET

how about the public gets to scan/see just a 20% snippet of google's secret sauce?


Hank Castello   April 8th, 2010 10:10 pm ET

Some level of compensation should be paid, but much, much less than with physical books.

It's like the new safaribooksonline website where you can pay $23/mo and have access to thousands of tech books. I used to average $100/mo at B&N. Now I just pay $23. If Google is going to make these books available online, they should probably be allowed to show samples of the book for free and give access for pennies per book, and pay royalties out of those pennies.


Jerom   April 8th, 2010 10:33 pm ET

Why should a photographer be paid less than his normal licensing fee just because it is online? It costs the photographer the same to make the image regardless of how the client uses it. If he normally charges 400 per use for a 5 year right to publish it is the same, and if he is paid a royalty then it will take him longer to recoup his investment at a lower price than than at the print rate.


rainynight   April 9th, 2010 4:34 am ET

am i missing something. i thought writers write the book and pay photographers one time payments for images in the book. the publishers then deal directly with the writers to publish the book and pays the writer. the publisher make money by selling books and if contract said writer gets percentages then thats what writers would get.

if the photographer wants higher fee or percentage compensation of his images getting distributed in books, photographer need to ask writer for higher payment or ask that they both be in contract with publisher for payments as if that would happen.

in publishing a book, the writer is the main focus for publisher compensation and no one else.

google should compensate publisher and no one else.
everyone should seek out the publisher for further compensation if they want to sue but not google.


Terry   April 9th, 2010 7:46 am ET

@Soulardguy. So, you are saying it is the responsibility of each individual artist to "opt-out" of this? Even the ones who don't speak English, and might not know that Google is doing this? That makes so much more sense than for Google to adhere to the law and not offer other people's work without their consent.

I love the work of places like project Gutenberg which is in the process of LEGALLY doing just this, but with all books that are no longer under copyright protection. I like Google in general, but many times they go too far with these things.


Jerom   April 9th, 2010 9:36 am ET

@rainynight – My experience in working on books as a Graphic Designer the publisher handles the photo's and artwork purchases and rights unless it is an illustrated book where there is a partnership between the author and illustrator. I doubt the publisher would just pick up a writers photo's on their say in most cases because they would be legally responsible if the writer did not get the proper permissions and other paperwork to use the photo's (such as model releases) for the book, and in most cases the writer probably does not know what is needed. Also, as I recall the way the law works the rights have to be purchased in the publishers name, not the authors. And finally I doubt the author would have the money in most cases to have the art and photographs done up front, unless they are also the photographer and illustrator.

I know that if I own a royalty free image or a special font that I use in a book design I can use it, but if I am working on something for a publisher the publisher needs to buy that image or font to legally use it, my license of the image or font is not transferable to my client.

Copyright law is complex, that is why there are a lot of lawyers that specialize in it, and there are people at the publishers who specialize in permissions for the art and photographs and sometimes text excerpts that are put in books, and there are people at the publishers who do nothing but find the art and photographs and hiring the photographers and illustrators to create what is needed.


Avrailer(Jeremii)   April 9th, 2010 10:37 am ET

SO MUCH HATE SHOWN TO GOOLE!!!! 2 YEARS AGO ALL OF YOU WERE USING GOOGLE AND GIVING THEM PRAISE!!! 2faced!?!1


why it matters   April 9th, 2010 11:26 am ET

I am an expert in a non-fiction subject. I have a college degree in my subject. I have many years professional experience working in the profession of my subject. I have many years of experience writing, photographing, hand-drawing, and lecturing on my subject. People pay me to advise them in my subject, too. I work long hours to meet crazy deadlines. I have worked hard to hone my talents and to know a lot about my subject.

When/if Google (or anybody else) takes my work - writing, images, or even a video of one of my lectures - and posts it online, then they are taking away what I sell for a living. They are hijacking my expertise without my permission and without compensating me.

Note that my publishers do NOT own my work. I license it to them very carefully for a specific publishing use. I retain the copyrights. Sometimes, I am paid less because I insist on retaining the copyrights. So why should I give my copyrighted material away to Google for free???

I have invested a lot of money, time, and effort to become an expert. No one has the right to offer access to my expertise without my permission.

Google sells ad space to advertisers who want to target people who are interested in my subject of expertise. So the advertisers want to place ads near my work because they can target a group of potential customers. But no one asked me if they could use my work to lure viewers and NO ONE is paying me. So Google gets richer without paying me one penny. Meanwhile, my work is devalued because the public has free access to it, so why should they purchase it?

Why is it so hard for the general public to understand why this is wrong??? It must be because everyone wants to get something free, so they want Google to take whatever they want and offer it online free.


Jerom   April 9th, 2010 1:37 pm ET

@why it matters – because it is not their earnings that is being effected, they can only see that it is a way to get something free.

They do not know how the business works and don't care to understand it, they only see a law suite being filed against the "benevolent Google" who can do no wrong and assume that someone is out to take advantage of Google and ride their "Gravy Train" when the fact is that it is Google that is taking advantage of the works of others in this case without getting the legal rights to do so from t he owners of the content that they are making available (ie publishing) on the web which they are making money off of through their advertising.

What Google is doing is theft, the same as if they were robbing a bank. I have no doubt that they know the law, and that they know it should be their responsibility to get permission to use the material before they post it on the web, and it doesn't matter if they are making money off it or not they still need permission to use the material before publishing it because once it is available then you ability to "sell" the digital rights to the material that you own is diminished.


Sency   April 9th, 2010 3:27 pm ET

it seems that there is a new Google suit each week

http://www.sency.com/google-artists.htm


Matt   April 11th, 2010 6:46 pm ET

Here we are, on the verge of the Second Great Library. And people are trying to sue it out of existence.

To create a Second Great Library world would be one of the great achievements of humanity.

But no! Can't let that get in the way of money. Money, money, money. Money, money, $$, money, MONEY, SUE THEM, need more money!


Missa.   April 12th, 2010 2:40 pm ET

o1. Google is not profiting -directly- from the "illegal" use of images. The advertisement is placed on all pages to generate revenue from traffic, regardless of whether the person on the page is even reading the book.

o2. I thought that those with images in books must collect royalties through the actual publisher. Not third-parties. You guys are making it seem like Google is being outright malicious, when the people who should really pick up this fight is the publishers of the books (who should be the ones giving Google lawful permission to copy said books). It is from them you collect your money...or so I thought.

o3. You must remember, that in the age of widespread Internet access–everything–& I do mean everything, is up for grabs as long as someone puts it up for public use. Illegal yes, but it's very hard to stop it from occuring. I like to think of it as "free advertisement." I'm an artist myself...I believe that if my work were featured online (in the book I willingly put it in), I'd be kind of glad to have that extra exposure. I think I would be more angry if someone took that picture & used it for themselves commercially, or even altered it, without my permission.


Photographers Australia   April 19th, 2010 3:08 am ET

But will Google even bat an eyelid?


Google Lover   December 29th, 2010 1:39 pm ET

If you go to a public library and view a book, do you pay a royalty? No, of course not. What's the difference with viewing it on the web? None. You still don't own a copy. You only view it.


Francisco Crossfield   February 8th, 2011 2:49 pm ET

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