Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?
Google The Courts Technology

Photographers Want Their Cut From Google's Ebooks 240

It's not just the writers anymore: carluva writes "The American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) and several other visual artist groups are suing Google over its digitization of of millions of books, claiming copyright infringement related to images within the books. The photographers initially wanted to be included in the authors' and publishers' class action suit, but filed their own suit after that request was denied. Google and others assert that images are only included in the digital copies when permission has been obtained from the copyright holder."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Photographers Want Their Cut From Google's Ebooks

Comments Filter:
  • by Palestrina ( 715471 ) * on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @05:33PM (#31767776) Homepage

    The complexity is that a modern book can have a large number of owners, who may have come together and agreed to publish a given book, or even a given edition of the book. But republication, translation, adaption for the stage, movies, song lyrics, etc., all need to be negotiated separately. It gets even crazier with video, since then you have musician rights, composer rights, etc.

    I think Lessig gave us one of the best reads on this problem a couple of months ago: []

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @05:35PM (#31767812)

    "The complexity is that a modern book can have a large number of owners, who may have come together and agreed to publish a given book, or even a given edition of the book..."

    Such that books are even offered incompletely. I purchased an online version of a classical art textbook to save money. I'm about a third of the way through the book and I've already seen 4 or 5 "This image removed due to copyright restrictions" in a fucking 180-day subscription to a classical art textbook for which I paid seventy bucks(in before idiot/sucker, I needed the commentary). Omitted were photos of paintings and sculptures that any tourist could frame and snap. For those interested, the book is Gardner's Art Through the Ages as purchased through coursesmart []

    Fortunately, The Pirate Bay offers a wide variety of top-notch textbooks at low, low prices. The losers, of course, are the people who pay for the content.

    -- Ethanol-fueled

  • Re:Photographs (Score:4, Informative)

    by Ron Bennett ( 14590 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @06:09PM (#31768238) Homepage

    Google likely believes use of your images falls under "fair use" in the same manner as those shown on Google Images, and hence feels no obligation to pay.

    I assume the images in question were shown as smallish (ie. 80x80) thumbnails?

    You might be able to strongly encourage Google to pay, if you can document them using the images out of context ... but I presume the images all linked to the related news items that contained the full size images. And thus, to reiterate, likely why Google feels no obligation to pay.


  • Re:Photographs (Score:5, Informative)

    by Chyeld ( 713439 ) <> on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @06:45PM (#31768704)

    Actually no, they do it because they either have a marketing agreement with opposing vendors who didn't want free advertising to be given to the competition or because the image was TRADEMARKED and they were worried the use of it in their show might bring legal trouble on that front.

    Unless they have an incompetent legal department, they are never doing it because they fear they are infringing copyrights, as it'd be a 100% slam dunk when they showed up for court and said "Your honor, fair use."

  • Re:Photographs (Score:2, Informative)

    by Chyeld ( 713439 ) <> on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @06:47PM (#31768744)

    Almost as silly as your Google-bashing has become.

    No, not really.

    You are still miles ahead of them. Keep it up, everyone loves a clown.

  • Re:Photographs (Score:4, Informative)

    by cpt kangarooski ( 3773 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @06:48PM (#31768752) Homepage

    Which is like having your neighbor say it was OK to use your pool without your permission because they did the same thing to the guy down the street.

    No, it's more like if your house is plainly visible from the sidewalk, with no tall hedges, or anything else obstructing the view, and your neighbor stands on the sidewalk and looks at it. The house may be your property, but he is perfectly within his rights to look at it, if you haven't concealed it in some fashion.

    Remember: Copyright is defined by statute, and is limited; it does not cover absolutely anything regarding a work. An author's rights in his work stop at the border of fair use (among other things). Fairly using a work simply does not, and cannot infringe, by definition.

    Of course, I'm not surprised to see the sort of rent-seeking behavior that you seem to condone. We just have to stand firm against those who would disparage fair use (which, because fair use is meant to promote public policy with regard to copyright, is really a disparagement of copyright as a whole).

  • Re:Photographs (Score:5, Informative)

    by cpt kangarooski ( 3773 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @06:55PM (#31768852) Homepage

    And indeed, that argument was made in Kelly v. Arriba Soft, back in 2002. The court in that case decided that image thumbnails produced as search results were a fair use.

    The use was commercial, which counted against defendants, but transformative (instead of being pictures qua pictures, they were merely search result) which counted for. The pictures were creative works, but published, which counted against, but not so much against as it might. They copied the entire work, but this was no more than necessary for users to be able to identify the results, so it counted neither for nor against. And the use as thumbnails in search engine results didn't harm the market for the images themselves, so that counted for.

  • Re:Me too (Score:5, Informative)

    by Chyeld ( 713439 ) <> on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @07:05PM (#31768980)

    That comment is so full of bullshit, I'm not even certain where to start.

    Wait, I know, lets start at the start:

    • What did Google actually do originally
      • Google went to select libraries and asked their permission to scan in the works that the libraries had access to.
      • Google intended to make the works which were in the public domain available online for free
      • Google intended to make the works which were still covered under copyright search-able, just as a website is, and include them in Google's index.
    • What has Google already made available online
      • The only items you can currently view in full on Google's site are the books they have PERMISSION to display, either from the copyrights holder or by virtue of the book being in the public domain
      • Books Google does not have permission to display in full are in some cases search-able (depending on whether the copyright holder has told Google block the book or not

    What is evil about what they were originally working on? Where is the blatant disregard for copyright that you are stumping on about? The fact that the GBS greatly expands their plans and what they are doing is not because that is what they were originally planning, it's because that's what the lawyers were able to AGREE upon when they sat down at the table!

  • Re:Hmmmm (Score:5, Informative)

    by grcumb ( 781340 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @07:23PM (#31769186) Homepage Journal

    Most of us agree already that intellectual property goes too far. When it comes to things like movies and music and books, there is at least some real creativity. Photography? Not so much.


    I've had formal training in writing and theatre (acting, design and directing) and have worked professionally in a number of creative disciplines. Just as with photography, the majority of writing work is workman-like documentary stuff that anyone with a decent grasp of the English language can manage. Writing clearly is mostly a matter of discipline. It's work, but it's not that difficult.

    Telling stories as simply and elegantly as Graham Greene, however, is something to which most of us can't even aspire.

    Likewise with photography. Taking a clear, composed and nicely lit photo is mostly a matter of discipline. It's work, but it's not that difficult. Taking a great photo on the level of Don McCullen or Robert Capa, for example, is something most of us will never approach.

    If you're going to compare different artistic media (not really advisable at the best of times), at least try to compare similar things. Run-of-the-mill documentary writing, film-making and photography are similar in terms of time, discipline and effort required. (The biggest differentiator is the scope of the work itself. Photographers capture an instant; film-makers capture events.)

    Great work in any discipline is likewise exacting, difficult, time-consuming and reserved to a rare, gifted few.

  • Re:Hmmmm (Score:3, Informative)

    by jesset77 ( 759149 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @08:48PM (#31770160)

    Can you explain it to me in 1 paragraph or less?

    "Opportunistic copyright trolls are opportunistic." Now I don't know what to do with the rest of my paragraph. ;3

"The way of the world is to praise dead saints and prosecute live ones." -- Nathaniel Howe