April 7, 2010
Eugene H. Mopsik, Executive Director, ASMP
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Victor S. Perlman, Esq., General Counsel, ASMP
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American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP)
Philadelphia, PA… 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, 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 for the Southern District of New York. The suit, which was filed by Mishcon de Reya New York LLP, relates to Google’s 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 includes Google’s other systematic and pervasive infringements of the rights of photographers, illustrators and other visual artists.
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 Executive Director Eugene Mopsik, “Through this suit, we are fulfilling the missions of our organizations and standing up for the rights of photographers and other visual artists who have been excluded from the process up to now. We strongly believe that our members and those of other organizations, whose livelihoods are significantly and negatively impacted, deserve to have representation in this landmark issue.” ASMP General Counsel Victor Perlman said, “We are seeking justice and fair compensation for visual artists whose work appears in the twelve million books and other publications Google has illegally scanned to date. In doing so, we are giving voice to thousands of disenfranchised creators of visual artworks whose rights we hope to enforce through this class action.”
Founded in 1944, ASMP is the premier trade association for the world’s most respected photographers. ASMP is the leader in promoting photographers’ rights, providing education in better business practices, producing business publications for photographers, and helping to connect purchasers with professional photographers. ASMP has 39 chapters across the country and its 7,000 members include many of the world’s foremost photographers. More information is available at http://asmp.org.
The Graphic Artists Guild is a national artists union that embraces creators at all levels of skill and expertise, who create art intended for presentation as originals or reproductions. The mission of the Guild is to promote and protect the economic interests of its members, to improve conditions for all creators, and to raise standards for the entire industry. Its core purpose is to be a strong community that empowers and enriches its members through collective action. More information at http://www.graphicartistsguild.org.
Founded in 1951, PACA, the Picture Archive Council of America, represents the vital interests of image archives of every size, from individual photographers to large corporations, who license images for commercial reproduction. PACA leads advocacy, education, and communication efforts on copyright and standard business practices that affect the image licensing industry. More information at http://www.pacaoffice.org.
NANPA, the North American Nature Photography Association, is the first and premiere association in North America committed solely to serving the field of nature photography. More information at http://www.nanpa.org.
PPA, the Professional Photographers of America is the world’s largest not-for-profit association for professional photographers, with more than 20,000 members in 54 countries. The association seeks to increase its members’ business savvy as well as broaden their creative scope and is a leader in the dissemination of knowledge in the areas of professional business practices and creative image-making. More information at http://www.ppa.com.