Google Books faces fresh lawsuit from photographers
Google's plan to create an online library of the world's books faces new delays after photographers and illustrators filed a class-action lawsuit against the project.
The American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) and other groups representing illustrators and graphic artists filed the lawsuit in the US District Court for Southern District of New York on Wednesday.
The group launched the challenge after it was told it could not join the pending $125m (€94m) settlement of a case brought by authors and publishers in 2005.
Instead, the photographers and illustrators have filed a separate class action, alleging Google's plan to scan 18 million books for an online database infringes the rights of photographers and other creators of graphic works.
James McGuire, of law firm Mischon de Reya which is leading the case, said: "This case is about fairness and compensation. It's only right that if someone uses something you create, you should be paid for it."
Victor Perlman, general counsel of the ASMP, said: "Google has been involved in a campaign of unauthorised scanning and public display and distribution of works."
"A lot of those works are photographs and illustrations. They're doing it without authorisation of the copyright owners. I call that infringement."
A spokesman for Google said: "We are confident that Google Books is fully compliant with international copyright law. Google Books is a historic effort to make all of the knowledge contained within the world's books searchable online."
The case comes as Google closes in on settling its battle with authors and publishers over the Google Books Library Project.
In 2008, Google agreed an out-of-court deal that would see it pay authors and publishers a share of revenues from the project.
The settlement was delayed when several thousand authors opted out of the agreement. A ruling on the settlement is expected in the next few days.