ASMP, Other Visual Artists File Class Action Lawsuit Against Google

PHILADELPHIA — The American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP), joined by 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 and Ed Kashi and illustrators John Schmelzer and Simms Taback, has filed a class action copyright infringement suit against Google Inc. in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, it announced April 7.

The suit, which was filed by Mishcon de Reya New York LLP, relates to Google’s allegedly illegal scanning of millions of books and other publications containing copyrighted images and displaying them to the public without regard to the rights of the visual creators. ASMP and the other trade associations, representing thousands of members, decided to file the class action after the court denied their request to join the currently pending $125 million class action that had previously been filed primarily on behalf of text authors in connection with the Google Library Project. The new class action goes beyond Google’s Library Project, and alleges Google’s “other systematic and pervasive infringements of the rights of photographers, illustrators and other visual artists,” ASMP said.

This action by ASMP and its sister organizations was taken in order to protect the interests of owners of copyrights in visual works from the massive and organized copying and public display of their images without regard to their contributions and rights to fair compensation, according to ASMP.