Copyright News

Buzzfeed Copyright Infringement And Photo Sharing, What is fair use?

A new court test of fair use on the Internet appears likely due to a lawsuit filed June 7 by photographer Kai Eiselein against BuzzFeed. Eiselein, who is demanding damages that could total over $3.6 million, claims that BuzzFeed infringed his copyright in a photograph he posted on Flickr in 2009 showing a soccer player heading a ball.

According to Eiselein, BuzzFeed included the photo without his consent in a collection titled “The 30 Funniest Header Faces” published in June 2010. After he sent BuzzFeed a takedown notice in May 2011, the company removed the photo and renamed the collection “The 29 Funniest Header Faces.” By that time, however, Eiselein alleges that the set of images including his photo had spread virally from BuzzFeed to dozens of other websites. Eiselein asserts that BuzzFeed is liable for contributory infringement for the photo’s use on those sites—and on sites that published it after he registered it with the U.S. Copyright Office in late June 2011. (Copyright registration allows a plaintiff to recover very high “statutory” damages for subsequent infringement.)

In discussing copyright issues in April 2012 with The Atlantic’s Alexis Madrigal, BuzzFeed’s founder and CEO Jonah Peretti said, “I would love if every image contained some secret metadata and a way to license that image . . . But the practical reality is that it is pretty challenging, particularly in the web culture of animals and the images that spread on Pinterest and Tumblr.”

And what happens when BuzzFeed uses an image that it hasn’t licensed? That, suggested Peretti to The Atlantic, can fall under the “fair use” doctrine of U.S. copyright law: “Is it good for the world to have a broad definition of Fair Use where people can create new things that are transformative or that people can enjoy?” Peretti said. “I think it is good for the world.”

Under U.S. law, it is generally unlawful to distribute (or reproduce, publicly display, publicly perform, etc.) a copyrighted work without authorization from the copyright owner. However, there is a fair use exception “for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, . . . scholarship, or research.” Courts examining whether a use is fair consider a set of four factors:

  1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes
  2. the nature of the copyrighted work
  3. the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
  4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work

A movie critic who includes a line of dialog in a movie review is generally engaging in fair use, as is a middle school teacher who hands out photocopies of a short, properly cited excerpt of a recent news article to students in his or her classroom.

But not all scenarios are so straightforward. When assessing the “purpose and character of the use” for more complex scenarios, courts in recent decades have given significant weight to whether the use was “transformative.” As Pierre Leval, who was at that time a federal judge in New York, wrote in an influential 1990 Harvard Law Review article, “If the secondary use adds value to the original . . . this is the very type of activity that the fair use doctrine intends to protect for the enrichment of society.”

Can a parody of a copyrighted work, made for commercial purposes, qualify as fair use? Yes, the Supreme Court ruled in 1994 in Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc., a case that considered rap group 2 Live Crew’s parody of the 1960s rock ballad “Oh, Pretty Woman.” “The more transformative the new work,” wrote the Court, “the less will be the significance of other factors, like commercialism, that may weigh against a finding of fair use.”

What about a collage constructed using copyrighted content from others? Earlier this year, the Second Circuit considered this question in a lawsuit filed by photographer Patrick Cariou against artist Richard Prince. Prince’s work, the court explained in its ruling [PDF] in Cariou v. Prince, involves “taking photographs and other images that others have produced and incorporating them into paintings and collages that he then presents, in a different context, as his own.”

Cario contended that 30 of Prince’s paintings and collages infringed his copyrights by reusing his photographs. The Second Circuit, however, viewed most of the works in dispute as transformative. Prince’s images, wrote the court, “have a different character, give Cariou’s photographs a new expression, and employ new aesthetics with creative and communicative results distinct from Cariou’s.” For 25 of the 30 works at issue in the case, the court concluded that Prince’s incorporation of Cariou’s copyrighted photographs was fair use.

So where does this leave BuzzFeed as it responds to Kai Eiselein’s allegations? The company will probably argue that its inclusion of Eiselein’s photograph within a larger thematic collection was transformative. But that is unlikely to carry the day. The Second Circuit’s decision in Cariou v. Prince—which is a binding precedent in the New York federal court where Eiselein’s suit was filed—recognized that not all uses are transformative uses: “A derivative work that merely presents the same material but in a new form, such as a book of synopses of televisions shows, is not transformative.” It’s hard to credibly argue that selecting an image to include in a list constitutes a transformation.

This doesn’t mean Eiselein will prevail on all of his claims. BuzzFeed will likely argue that he has misapplied the statutory damage law by demanding a separate payment for each alleged post-June 2011 infringement, as opposed to a single payment for the one work involved. Eiselein will also face challenges showing that BuzzFeed is liable for contributory infringement. And, there could be extraterritoriality issues as well, since many of the sites listed in the complaint are overseas. Eiselein will need to tie the presence of his photo on those sites to infringing acts in the United States.

In short, Eiselein is very unlikely to be getting a multimillion-dollar payment from BuzzFeed. But he is also unlikely to walk away completely empty-handed. After all, as a content creator he should be able to display his work in the 21st century equivalent of a town square while also retaining the associated intellectual property rights. Put another way, uploading user-generated content to the Internet shouldn’t require granting what amounts to a compulsory royalty-free license for anyone else who might want to use it.

Of course, it’s best to avoid a fight over fair use in the first place. Companies like BuzzFeed would be better served by steering clear of images that aren’t either in the public domain or easily licensable. And content creators can use mechanisms other than litigation to push social media sites to be more attuned to copyright issues.

Copyright Infringement And Photo Sharing : A New Lawsuit Tests The Limits Of … - Forbes

copyright infringement news - Google News

Copyright Infringement Finder - Find Copyright Infringement With a Right-Click


Georgios Kollidas -

What is the Copyright Infringement Finder and is it worth it? Photographer Jason Wilder had a problem common to nearly everyone who creates intellectual property: His work was routinely being used online without his permission— and without payment. So Wilder did something about it, creating the Copyright Infringement Finder (CIF) add-on for the Firefox browser.

“I have been a professional concert photographer for about 10 years now, and no one ever really wants to pay for concert photos,” Wilder told “They’d rather take them without licensing them and hope no one finds out, instead of paying a small licensing fee.”

The CIF add-on uses Google’s image-searching technology and allows owners of images to right-click on an image in the Firefox browser window to find other sites that are using that same image. “All my images are copyrighted,” Wilder notes, and because “I know which sites have licensed my work and which sites have not licensed my work,” he can quickly scan the CIF results for potential infringement.

Wilder, who is based in Tampa, uploaded the original version of CIF in the summer of 2011, and has seen nearly 2,000 downloads since. Many of those users have been in touch with him, too: “The majority of photographers that use the tool are happy,” he says, “because they have found their work being illegally used that they did not know about, which normally leads to being compensated for it.”

While the short-term fee recoveries are good, Wilder is also enthusiastic about the long-term educational benefit to the CIF tool:

“I am a firm advocate of owning copyrights of photos and getting compensated for them being used. My photos are my livelihood, and I do not work for free. A lot of people are misled and go by, ‘If it’s on the Internet it’s fair game to use for whatever,’ and sadly it will be like that for a long time. But the more photographers go after copyright theft and seek for damages, the more people and corporations get educated from the mistakes they made when they have to pay out thousands instead of, say, paying a $50 fee for a one-time use.”

The CIF add-on is available free for Firefox.

A browser or device that allows javascript is required to view this content.

Finding Copyright Infringement With a Right-Click -

copyright infringement news - Google News

Kim Dotcom might sue Twitter, Google and Facebook over copyright infringement

Internet mogul Kim Dotcom said Thursday he was considering taking legal action against tech giants such as Twitter, Google and Facebook for infringing copyright on a security measure he invented.

Dotcom, who is on bail in New Zealand as US authorities seek his extradition in the world’s biggest copyright case, said he invented “two-factor authentication”, which many major sites have adopted as a security feature.

Twitter became the latest major player to introduce the measure on Wednesday following a series of cyber-attacks which saw hackers take over the accounts of high-profile targets such as media organizations and send out fake tweets.

“Twitter introduces Two-Step-Authentication. Using my invention. But they won’t even verify my Twitter account?!,” Dotcom tweeted.

“Google, Facebook, Twitter, Citibank, etc. offer Two-Step-Authentication. Massive IP (intellectual property) infringement by U.S. companies. My innovation. My patent,” he added.

To back his claim, the 39-year-old posted a US patent describing the authentication process filed in 1998 by Kim Schmitz — Dotcom’s name before he legally changed it — and published in 2000.

Dotcom said he had never sought to enforce copyright on his invention but was now reconsidering in light of the US case accusing him of masterminding massive online piracy through his now-defunct Megaupload file-sharing site.

“I never sued them. I believe in sharing knowledge & ideas for the good of society. But I might sue them now cause of what the U.S. did to me,” he said.

However, he said a more productive approach would be if the tech giants helped cover his legal bills to fight prosecution under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DCMA), which he estimated would exceed US$50 million.

“Google, Facebook, Twitter, I ask you for help. We are all in the same DMCA boat. Use my patent for free. But please help fund my defense,” he tweeted.

“All of our assets are still frozen without trial. Defending our case will cost US$50M+. I want to fight to the end because we are innocent.”

The authentication process works by sending a text message containing a verification code to the user’s mobile phone when they login, which must be entered to gain access to the account.

The US Justice Department and FBI want Dotcom to face charges of racketeering, fraud, money-laundering and copyright theft in a US court, which could see him jailed for up to 20 years.

He denies US allegations the Megaupload sites netted more than US$175 million in criminal proceeds and cost copyright owners more than US$500 million by offering pirated copies of movies, TV shows and other content.

The German national is free on bail ahead of an extradition hearing scheduled for August and launched a successor to Megaupload called Mega in January this year.


Kim Dotcom might sue Twitter, Google and Facebook over copyright infringement - Raw Story

copyright infringement news - Google News Domain Registrar Assists Copyright Infringement

Is assisting in copyright infringement??
The organization responsible for Sweden’s top-level domain is facing court action after refusing to disable or seize two domains operated by The Pirate Bay. The Internet Infrastructure Foundation, the body that administers the .SE TLD and engages in projects to better the Internet, now faces a court showdown. The prosecution office is claiming that the foundation is guilty of assisting those who assist others to engage in copyright infringement.

IIS SEEarlier this year, the operators of The Pirate Bay received word that Swedish authorities would try to disrupt the site’s operations by seizing its .SE domains.

This would include the primarily used

Rather than wait for the day to arrive TPB switched to a Greenland-based domain, later hopping to Icelandic and then .SX domains as other problems became apparent.

Despite the rapid switches, authorities in Sweden are still intent on taking control of TPB’s .SE domains to ensure that the site’s outward Swedish connections are severed for good. However, the prosecutor’s latest actions bear all the signs of an increasingly desperate copyright enforcement mentality that in the face of an unbeatable foe will seek to hold entirely innocent parties responsible for totally detached offenses committed by others.

The Internet Infrastructure Foundation (IIS) is the body with responsibility for Sweden’s top-level .SE domain. Since it handles .SE domain registrations, IIS is the organization with control over Swedish domains operated by The Pirate Bay.

Earlier this month, IIS received news that the Swedish Prosecution Authority had filed a petition with the Stockholm District Court demanding the seizure of two Pirate Bay-related domains – and The prosecutor is now treating IIS as an infringing party in the long-running fight between The Pirate Bay and copyright holders.

“The legal system has not been able to shut down the service after the previous guilty verdict against TPB,” IIS Chief of Communications Maria Ekelund told TorrentFreak.

“Therefore the prosecutor has opened a new case against both the domain holders and .SE. The prosecutor is accusing .SE of assisting TPB who are assisting others to commit copyright infringement.”

Just to be clear, in their criminal trial The Pirate Bay’s former operators were found guilty of assisting in copyright infringements carried out by the site’s users. IIS are now being accused of assisting people who were previously found guilty of assisting other people to commit copyright infringement. The users of TPB, who according to the court actually committed the offenses, have been left out of the process altogether. Not so IIS.

“In the eyes of the prosecutor, .SE’s catalogue function has become some form of accomplice to criminal activity, a perspective that is unique in Europe as far as I know,” says IIS CEO Danny Aerts.

“There are no previous cases of states suing a registry for abetting criminal activity or breaching copyright law.”

In considering what IIS may have done to deserve being taken to court, Aerts turns to IIS’s responsibility to link readable URLs – such as – to their IP address equivalent. Their part of the connectivity job is important, but they aren’t the only organization involved in the process.

“.SE translates the .se domain names to name servers, a name server operator translates this into an IP address and a resolver operator (such as Telia) helps .SE respond to the most frequent queries,” Aerts explains.

“IP addresses are subsequently allotted to an Internet Service Provider (ISP) through RIPE. And IANA grants us the right to administer the top-level .se domain. Perhaps I should also remember to mention Google, which helps you find the address if you do not know the domain name.”

What Aerts describes is a complex interconnected system designed to help the Internet function, with each organization and function playing its own crucial part.

“Where should the line be drawn for legal processes and matters of liability?” Aerts questions.

Since IIS are refusing to comply with the prosecutor’s demands, the case will now proceed to court.

“.SE will naturally respond to the prosecutor’s perspective. We have an educational task ahead of us in explaining to the District Court what a domain name is, what .SE does and the fundamentally incorrect nature behind seizing a domain name forever,” Aerts says.

Another sad consequence of this case is that IIS will be forced to divert funds away from its educational efforts in order to fight in a third-party battle between copyright holders and The Pirate Bay.

“This will be an expensive process and, although our lawyers will find it an interesting case, these are funds that we would rather spend on our investments in schools or digital inclusion,” says Aerts.

If IIS wins, and many people way outside the copyright debate hope that they will, then the status quo will remain. However, if IIS lose they could be forced to deregister the domains, remove their name servers, or watch as the domains are seized or placed on Sweden’s block list. While the outcome is uncertain, what is almost guaranteed is that The Pirate Bay will live on.

“Removing a domain name can be compared to taking down the signs hanging outside the shoe store. Although this would make it more difficult for customers to find the store, it would still be there and any customers who were able to find it would be able to continue buying shoes there,” Aerts concludes.

Earlier this year, the operators of The Pirate Bay received word that Swedish authorities would try to disrupt the site’s operations by seizing its .SE domains. Rather than wait for…

Pirate Bay Domain Registrar Assists Copyright Infringement, Prosecutor Claims - TorrentFreak
copyright infringement news - Google News

Atlanta rapper Young Jeezy sued by Composer for copyright infringement

Is Young Jeezy guilty of copyright infringement?
Brian Smith (Smith), who describes himself as a music producer and songwriter specializing in urban music, filed his complaint seeking an injunction, damages, and attorney fees against Jay W. Jenkins d/b/a Young Jeezy Music (Jenkins), Demetrius L. Stewart d/b/a Shawty Redd Songs (Stewart), UMG Recordings, Inc. (UMG), Island Def Jam Music Group (IDJ), Universal Music Group Distribution, Corp (UMGD), EMI Music Publishing (EMI), and EMI April Music, Inc. (EMIA) (collectively, Defendants).According to the complaint, Smith wrote an original song entitled “Roll On Em” and obtained registration No. SRu872-428 after filing on May 27, 2008.  Smith’s manager, Jasmine Norwood, provided an electronic copy of the song by email to Stewart in 2009.  The work “Jizzle” was released by Defendants in July 2010 and Smtih first heard it the following month – August 2010.Thereafter, on October 28, 2010, IDJ registered a copyright of the sound recording of Jizzle.  The complaint asserts that as a result, Smith lost substantial revenues, good will, and relationships with future clients, precluding Smith’s ability to expand his goodwill.  The nature of the goodwill that Smith alleges has been lost may be better understood by listening to Young Jeezy’s performance of the song.  Warning:  The lyrics are not intended for classroom dissection.

The lawsuit targets relief from copyright infringement pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 101, et seq, including, injunctive relief, expenses of litigation, and a declaratory judgment on ownership of the derivative work.

The case is Brian Smith v. Jay W. Jenkins et al., No. 1:13-cv-1235-RLV, filed 4/16/13 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division, and has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Robert L. Vining, Jr.

copyright infringement news - Google News

Andrew Cuomo Warns Khloe Kardashian About Copyright Infringement

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has reportedly sent Khloe Kardashian a letter informing her that a design on one of her t-shirts is too similar to a logo currently under copyright.

The design shows the Statue of Liberty above a row of crops, which is almost exactly like a logo made for the Department of Agriculture’s “Pride of New York” campaign.

Cuomo’s office says that if Khloe doesn’t stop selling the shirt within five days, the state will file a lawsuit.

“The State of New York has invested substantial time, effort and resources creating the respect and goodwill associated with the trademark,” the letter reads.

Kardashian created the shirts as part of the “Rich Soil” clothing line she began with husband Lamar Odom; the tees go for about $35 apiece. The “Pride of New York” logo was created in order to easily identify locally grown foods, so it’s no surprise that the governor doesn’t want Khloe’s clothing line confused with the initiative.

The website for the Department of Agriculture states, Be part of the Pride. Look for products displaying the Pride of New York logo when you shop and support your neighbors – the generations of family farms and food processors who have made New York State one of America’s leading suppliers of food and agricultural products.

Cuomo Warns Khloe About Copyright Infringement - WebProNews

copyright infringement news - Google News

Facebook copyright infringement lawsuit over Eminem song

Facebook copyright infringement lawsuit over Eminem song

The Facebook copyright infringement lawsuit was brought forward by a music publisher for using an Eminem song without permission in an ad for Facebook Home.

Eight Mile Style, which oversees Eminem’s portfolio, said in the copyright infringement lawsuit that ad agency Wieden + Kennedy included an Eminem song in the commercial “to curry favor with Facebook by catering to [founder Mark] Zuckerberg’s personal likes and interests.”

The lawsuit alleges that days before the ad premiered at the April 4th Facebook event the agency noticed an old website allegedly belonging to Zuckerberg. On the site, “Mark” refers to himself as Slim Shady, Eminem’s nickname.

The song in question — “Under the Influence” — comes from Eminem and D12 on the 2000 album “Marshall Mathers LP.” The lawsuit claims that the music in the advertisement was altered slightly after the premiere. <h2>The suit alleges the alteration amounted to an admission by Facebook that the music was used without permission. </h2>In that later version of the ad, the music plays for about 40 seconds in the one-minute ad. (Watch it below.)

After Eight Mile Style sued Apple in 2005 for using Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” in an iPod commercial, the two companies settled out of court.

Facebook declined to comment on the lawsuit, and the ad agency  couldn’t be reached.

Twitter: @peard33 | Facebook | Google+

Facebook copyright infringement lawsuit over Eminem song - Los Angeles Times
copyright infringement news - Google News

Orphan Works, Droit D’Auteur, Where to Sue in Copyright Cases

Snippets from issue 1, 2013 volume of The Copyright & New Media Law Newsletter:

Publishing and distributing content in today’s environment means working within a variety of models. An article or a series of articles published in a newsletter or website may become a mini e-book, the basis for a webinar or online course, or part of an online subscription-based database. These various models of monetizing content presume one thing—that ownership of the original content is clearly established when that original or first version of the content is written.

- Editorial by Lesley Ellen Harris

Orphan Works:

Because museums operate as stewards of collections with a mission and responsibility—on the one hand to educate and communicate with their public and, on the other hand, to care for their collections—museums hold a unique perspective on rights issues. One of the most significant legal issues facing the contemporary museum is the orphaned works issue.  The issue of orphaned works, that is, works determined to likely still be in copyright where the copyright owner cannot be identified or found, is not new.  Historically museums have been involved in determining provenance or attribution of works of art.

- Orphan Works from the Museum Perspective by Rina Elster Pantalony

French Copyright Law:

The French Intellectual Property Code not only expressly provides for the possibility to transfer moral rights on the death of the author (moral rights can be transferred only because of death), but also provides for the perpetuity of moral rights. The combination of this perpetual nature with the possibility of transferring a moral right only in case of death, offers a crucial tool to maintain control over the use of a work beyond the duration of patrimonial rights. As an example, the French courts (Paris Court of First Instance, September 12 2001) found that the moral rights over the works of famous author Victor Hugo had been transferred to his heirs up until today even thought the famous writer died in 1885.

- Copyright in France: The French System of “Droit D’Auteur” by by Jean-François Bretonnière and Thomas Defaux

Where to Sue for Copyright Infringement:

Personal jurisdiction is the court’s power over the parties in a case and is generally limited to a geographical area, such as a state.  More broadly, jurisdiction is the right or authority of a court to hear and decide a case.  Not every court has the right or authority to decide a particular legal dispute.  For example, a small claims court does not have the authority to decide a copyright case.  Only federal courts have that authority.  Personal jurisdiction is therefore the right or authority of the court to make a ruling that is enforceable against a specific party.  There are two kinds of personal jurisdiction: specific jurisdiction and general jurisdiction.

- Where to Sue in Copyright Infringement Cases by Tonya Gisselberg

Previous contents of The Copyright & New Media Law Newsletter.

If you subscribe to the Copyright Community in 2013 you will have access to this issue and all issues of the Newsletter from 2009-2013. Choose the electronic subscription for $199 for 2013.

Copyright for Publishers

Copyright for Publishers

Publishing in today’s environment means working within a variety of models. These models may entail the use of original content and may use republished, repurposed, adapted and recycled content. What does this mean in terms of copyright law? Since content is a key common denominator across models, publishers need to understand how copyright law protects that content. Key copyright issues include the nature of protected content; ownership of content; how that content is legally protected and what rights protect it; how to license and assignment content in order to monetize it and monitoring unauthorized uses of content. Proper copyright knowledge will ensure that you have maximum protection in the one constant in your various publishing models.

Three important copyright issues for publishers are:

  • ownership of content
  • using third party content
  • protecting publications

The issues affect both print and electronic publishers of all sorts of content.

Copyright Ownership

In copyright, the ownership rule seems straightforward: an author is the first owner of copyright in her work. However, in an employment situation, the employer owns the copyright in her employee’s work. A consultant on the other hand owns the copyright in her writings unless there is a written agreement stating otherwise. Written agreements can change the ownership of copyright materials; licenses can provide permission to use materials that you do not own.

Third Party Content

Third party content is content in which you do not own the rights. Some typical examples of third party works included in publications are: images, diagrams, tables, charts, and photographs. When using third party content, it is always best to begin with the presumption that the content is protected by copyright. Online content and images found through search engines like Google Images are often protected by copyright.

Protecting Publications

Using a copyright symbol and including copyright information (plus a link to obtain permission to use your online publications) is one of the simplest ways to start protecting your content. Watermarking, digital rights management, and license agreements may all be helpful as well.

More info at Member profile: Harris has the answers on copyright laws

See Copyright for Publishers session at SIPA on 5 June 2022

Photographers in Copyright Infringement Suit Against Google

The National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) recently announced that it is joining the other cast of characters who have filed a class action suit against Google, claiming (as the other plaintiffs have) that Google’s “Google Book Search” program violates the copyrights of several photographers and visual artists. The other plaintiffs include individuals Leif Skoogfors, Al Satterwhite, Morton Beebe, Ed Kashi, John Schmelzer, Simms Taback and Gail Kuenstler Living Trust, Leland Bobbe, John Francis Ficara and David Moser, and associations The American Society of Media Photographers, the Graphic Artists Guild, the Picture Archive Council of America, the North American Nature Photography Association, the Professional Photographers of America, and American Photographic Artists.

So what brought on this class action suit in the first place?  Well, it would seem that whenever someone conducts a search using the Google Books program, that search brings up images that are contained in both books and periodicals–images that are copyright protected. And apparently, this isn’t the first time Google Books has been under fire in litigation–even the writers of some of the books and periodicals that come up when using the search have also claimed copyright infringement.

The Allegations in the Complaint

The amended complaint details the claims that are typical to the members of the Class, and it specifically notes several questions of law that are common to the Class, including, but not limited to:

  • Whether Google’s alleged conduct constitutes infringement of the visual works held by members of the Class and the individual plaintiffs;
  • Whether Google gains direct financial and related benefits from the infringing acts complained of;
  • With regard to the acts complained of, whether Google acted willfully;
  • Whether injunctive and/or declaratory relief is appropriate; and
  • Whether the individual plaintiffs, along with the Class, are entitled to receive damages for Google’s wrongful conduct.

The plaintiffs, who are representing the Class, first make it clear that they exclusively own the rights to all the visual works that have been, or potentially will be, “reproduced, distributed and displayed by Google without authorization.”

The common allegations begin with a discussion of Google’s general business, which, as we all know, is the Internet search business. The company eventually decided to build a database online of all the books in the world–lofty idea, right?  Well, they started their mission by obtaining agreements from several major U.S. university libraries, to include the Universities of Virginia, Michigan, California and Wisconsin, as well as Stanford University.  So you might be asking, “Well, what’s wrong with that?” The problem is that Google is collaborating with these libraries to “digitally copy and reproduce books and the visual works therein from their collections and distribute and display this content through Google Book Search.”

Additionally, Google has shared those digital copies with others, and the company provides the scanning technology that permits the aforementioned books (along with the soon-to-be added collections) to be copied, distributed and displayed.  In furtherance of Google’s mission, the company created a partner program whereby book publishers (and periodical publishers) can give Google either the hard or digital copies of books or periodicals (and the visual works that they contain) that they have published.

Google has conceded that it has already scanned over 12 million books and has identified 174 million books that it “might” seek to copy, distribute and display.  One of Google’s reasons for using the books and periodicals–to draw not only interested visitors but also advertisers to its site.  Given these facts, the plaintiffs and Class members reiterate that Google has already reproduced various books and periodicals that contain visual works that the plaintiffs and Class members own exclusively. Furthermore, Google has done so and continues to do so without the permission of the copyright holders and in violation of their exclusive rights under the Copyright Act.

Moreover, Google has made it clear that it intends to continue copying the books and periodicals in further development of their online database, sell subscriptions to the database to its institutional customers and general online consumers, and expand future revenue streams from sales of consumer subscriptions to its database, print on-demand services, PDF download services and other services.

The plaintiffs claim that Google’s actions have caused and will continue to cause damage and irreversible harm to the plaintiffs, unless Google is restrained.  The lead plaintiffs in this action stated that they decided to take on Google because they believe that it is their responsibility to support those artists whose copyrighted work is, in essence, being cheapened by Google.  Mike Borland, president of NPPA, agreed with Executive Director Mindy Hutchinson who stated in an interview that, “it was only natural for the association to join its peers in this suit.”  Mr. Borland added that it is crucial that they (meaning the plaintiffs) don’t “allow companies like Google to infringe upon our rights uncontested.”

Photographers in Copyright Infringement Suit Against Google -

copyright infringement news - Google News