Photographer groups sue Google over Book Search

In separate suit, photography trade groups make similar arguments that book authors and publishers made several years ago: Google Book Search violates copyright law.

As a judge debates the final outcome of Google's settlement with book publishers and authors, photographers are ready to prolong the debate.

The American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) filed a copyright-infringement lawsuit Wednesday against Google, claiming that Google's Book Search project was undertaken without negotiating rights to their images with the photographers. That's the same argument originally leveled against Google in 2005 on behalf of book authors, who wound up settling with the company in 2008.

However, that settlement has yet to be approved, as many authors have objected to the terms of the deal. According to the Financial Times, Judge Denny Chin told representatives for photographers that joining that lawsuit at this point would throw a wrench into the entire process and advised them to file their own suit.

"We are seeking justice and fair compensation for visual artists whose work appears in the twelve million books and other publications Google has illegally scanned to date," said Victor Perlman, general counsel for the ASMP, in a press release. "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."

For its part, Google said in a statement: "We are confident that Google Books is fully compliant with U.S. and international copyright law."

The ASMP's suit was also filed on behalf of 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.

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