Google faces copyright lawsuit

2010-04-08 11:32

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New York - Google Inc is expected to be sued by photographers, illustrators and other visual artists who claim the company is infringing their rights by scanning and displaying their work without compensation.

The American Society of Media Photographers and others who were not permitted to join a pending class-action settlement over digitised books are filing a lawsuit on Wednesday, said the plaintiffs' law firm, Mishcon de Reya New York LLP.

According to the law firm, the complaint will seek class-action status on behalf of the visual artists and is being filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, where the earlier case is pending.

"This case is about fairness and compensation," James McGuire, a partner for the London-based law firm, said in a statement.

A copy of the complaint was not immediately available. Google did not immediately return a call on Wednesday seeking comment. McGuire also did not immediately return a call.

Copyright infringement

The earlier settlement arose from a 2005 lawsuit by the Authors Guild and other publishers that accused Mountain View, California-based Google of copyright infringement for scanning millions of books from libraries into digital form.

Under the proposed terms, Google would pay $125m to create a book rights registry and would allow authors and publishers to register their own works while having other ways to earn money from works posted online.

Amazon.com Inc and Microsoft Corp are among the opponents of the revised settlement, while Sony Corp, which makes an electronic reader, favours it.

The US Department of Justice said the settlement, while improved over an earlier accord, still appeared to run afoul of US copyright and antitrust law.

US District Judge Denny Chin heard oral arguments about the $125m settlement on February 18 and has yet to decide whether to approve it.

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