Patry and “The Copyright Wars”

Moral Panics and the Copyright WarsThe Copyright Clearance Center’s Beyond the Book feature just uploaded a podcast featuring Bill Patry, Senior Copyright Counsel at Google, copyright treatiste and, of course, on-again blogger.  Bill talks about his new book Moral Panics and The Copyright Wars, which is what you’d expect him to do.  Did you know he also has a blog by that name?  It’s amazing what you can find out if you align these tubes the right way.

If you’re like me, by the way, and figure you can read about 43 times faster than anyone not from New York City can talk, you might want to read the transcript instead, which the good people at the CCC have provided right here.

Meanwhile, one assumes that Bill’s keeping himself busy with the latest, and, to my mind, least-impressive-sounding attack on Google’s eventual dominance over humanity–and, by the way, I for one welcome our new digital masters with open arms–described as “THE LATEST MAJOR CLASS ACTION COPYRIGHT LAWSUIT AGAINST GOOGLE” by the Hollywood Reporter, to wit:

Today, the American Society of Media Photographers, the Graphic Artists Guild and various other visual art associations filed a class action lawsuit against Google for violating copyright by scanning and creating a visual copy of photographs, illustrations and art as part of its Google Books project.

The filing comes as Google is awaiting word from New York District Court judge Denny Chin about whether he’ll bless a settlement agreement with various publishing and author groups. ASMP was denied an attempt to intervene in that case because it would “put the entire settlement at risk” and decided it would make more sense to file its own lawsuit.

Today’s court filing is a result of that decision. Here’s a copy of the complaint.

It always makes sense to file one’s own lawsuit, I say, and I’m sure some good hard thinking went into that complaint–well, no, I’m not sure, but it’s the right thing to say–yet I can’t say that I buy the theory, which seems pretty much to have been dealt with in the “thumbnail cases,” no? It’s not like we’re talking about a whole book, or library full of them, okay?

Well, when in doubt about a copyright issue, of course, I usually say let’s just defer to Bill Patry on this but, well… well, actually, yeah, it’s not just the right thing to say; I mean it.  And I’m sure Bill will have plenty to say about that case.  But not on his blog.

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Author:Ron Coleman

I write this blog.

4 Responses to “Patry and “The Copyright Wars””

  1. MarcW
    April 11, 2010 at 9:31 am #

    Weeeeeell, I’m not so sure about that.

    What Google Books is doing is pretty much totally different from what Google’s search engine does with thumbnails and even hotlinking original images. Just as one point of distinction, it’s entirely likely (I’d say it was absolutely certain but that would be against the Lawyer Rules) that images which were not even *on* the ‘net will be put onto it, by Google, in large quantities, at usable resolutions. It’s one thing to argue that you can’t help what other people do and just pointing to them, even with “pointers” that themselves reproduce a work, shouldn’t be a problem. It’s another thing entirely when *you’re* the people. The argument that it’s okay to point to infringers with thumbnails of the infringements does not logically lead to it being okay to infringe yourself.

    Whether the ASMP will succeed or not, none can say. But if the Writer’s Guild et al had/have any kind of case, then I’d say the ASMP has some kind of case. Might be a winner or not, but it’s certainly plausible.

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