Google and Visual Arts
Considering all of the legal battles that Google has to attend to, I’ve seriously considered adding a section in my blog for Google Court Decisions. While Google continues to tackle issues with the Author’s Guild over copyright issues, they face a new class action law suit from the artist of those books, headed by the American Society of Media Photographers and other groups. There was a short blurb in the Chronicle of Higher Education today about this lawsuit.
One of the quotes from the NY Times I like is from an associate professor of University of Colorado Law School who says, “Google is trying to control or expand access to virtually all information in the world. It isn’t surprising that their settlement with written authors doesn’t end all their legal battles.”
Too true! Most people are not aware of how many people have put time and energy into shaping the final product of a book. Stake holders in books includes the author, illustrators (graphic designers for the cover and/or artist who create images within a book), photographers, editors, publishers, etc. This excludes all of the production, shipping, storage, and selling to finally getting the book into your hand. Some books are primarily geared for illustrations, such as picture books for children, guide books with hand-drawn pictures, coffee table books with beautiful photographs.
I would not be thrilled if my hard work suddenly started appearing everywhere without my permission (not saying that I wouldn’t want that to happen either). My point is that a lot of hard work goes into making a book and delivering it to the consumer, and I wonder if Google really considered how many Herculean hurdles it would have to jump before this project really got started.