Judge Certifies Class Action Suit by Photographers Against Google

‘In Google We Trust,’ by Sonicbloom. (Courtesy Petapixel.com)

A federal judge certified a class action suit brought in 2010 by individual photographers and graphic artists along with the American Society of Media Photographers and several professional associations of photographers claiming copyright infringement by Google for reproducing their visual works in digitized books, Courthouse News reports.

Second Circuit judge Denny Chin wrote that forcing authors to sue individually would be “burdensome and inefficient.” And Google doesn’t dispute that it didn’t get permission from copyright holders before copying millions of original works.

The judge stated the following:

“Furthermore, given the sweeping and undiscriminating nature of Google’s unauthorized copying, it would be unjust to require that each affected association member litigate his claim individually,” Chin wrote. “When Google copied works, it did not conduct an inquiry into the copyright ownership of each work; nor did it conduct an individualized evaluation as to whether posting ‘snippets’ of a particular work would constitute ‘fair use.’ It copied and made search results available en masse. Google cannot now turn the tables and ask the court to require each copyright holder to come forward individually and assert rights in a separate action.”

Judge Certifies Class Action Suit by Photographers Against Google