CAA News Today

The official Google Book Settlement website recently posted an update that extends the deadline to file for an upfront payment in the Google Book Search Copyright Class Action Settlement. Authors whose works were scanned by Google on or before May 5, 2009, may be entitled to claim a cash payment once the amended settlement is approved. The former deadline was March 31, 2011. The new deadline is one year after the approval of the settlement—a date yet to be determined.

The lawsuit, titled Authors Guild, Inc., et al. v. Google Inc. (Case No. 05 CV 8136, S.D.N.Y.), was brought by authors and lawyers who claim that by scanning books still under copyright for the Google Books Library Project, Google violated the creators’ rights. The federal court originally approved a settlement to the lawsuit in November 2008, and then preliminarily approved an amended settlement in November 2009.

A second class-action suit for copyright infringement was brought against Google in April 2010 by visual artists excluded as plaintiffs in the first suit, including the American Society of Media Photographers, several other photography associations, the Graphic Artists Guild, and independent photographers and illustrators. The outcome of this case (No. 10 CV 2977, S.D.N.Y.) will be determined after the settlement of the first case.

What does the extended deadline mean for authors and publishers? According to the Google Book Settlement website, if “you did not previously opt out of the Original Settlement and do not opt out of the Amended Settlement, you are ‘in’ the Amended Settlement,” and you can claim your copyrighted material. The website contains all documents related to the settlement and forms and instructions for registering your work. The Authors Guild also publishes updates about the settlement.

CAA will publish an additional notice once the new deadline is established.

CAA will highlight intellectual property and copyright in two back-to-back sessions at the 2011 Annual Conference. First, CAA’s Committee on Intellectual Property will host an informal, participatory session on the rapidly changing world of copyright as it affects the work of contemporary artists and scholars. A second panel, part of the regular conference program, will trace the evolution of intellectual property since ancient times. Both sessions will take place on Friday, February 11, 2011, at the Hilton New York, the conference headquarters hotel. The first will be held in Petit Trianon, Third Floor (12:30–2:00 PM); and the second moves to Gramercy A, Second Floor (2:30–5:00 PM).

For the committee-sponsored “Copyright, CAA, and the Next Century,” the session cochairs—Ken Cavalier, an art historian and lawyer based in British Columbia, and Christine Sundt, editor of Visual Resources: An International Journal of Documentation—will facilitate discussion about today’s critical issues. Open to the public, the session allows attendees to speak freely on issues they think CAA should address, or that are starting to brew regarding copyright in the United States and Canada. Cavalier and Jeffrey Cunard, CAA’s counsel, will serve as legal experts and guides, and committee members will be on hand to answer questions. CAA is especially interested in how it can improve coverage of intellectual-property issues on its website, in its conference sessions, and in outreach efforts, as well as how the organization can define its leadership role (and work with other groups) to advocate copyright legislation that benefits the artistic community.

For the program session, “Intellectual Property in the Visual Arts, Antiquity through Early Modern,” Beth Holman, an independent scholar and the session’s chair, will shift the focus from print and print privileges to shed light on other strategies of asserting and protecting intellectual property. Kristen Seaman of Kennesaw State University will talk about “Ancient Greek Theories of Authorship and the Creation of Art History,” and Giancarla Periti of the University of Toronto will speak on “Authorship and Early Modern Manuscript Collections of Antiquarian Artifacts.” Moving forward chronologically, C. Jean Campbell of Emory University will discuss “Working Knowledge: Ownership and the Representation of Inventive Capacity in Early Renaissance Art,” and Alexandra Hoare of the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts will address “‘Né tocchi mai da nessuno’: Salvator Rosa’s Contribution to Seventeenth-Century Concepts of Intellectual Property.” Ken Cavalier will serve as the session’s discussant.

The Center for Social Media, part of the School of Communication at American University in Washington, DC, has published the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Scholarly Research in Communication. Patricia Aufderheide, the center’s director, and Peter Jaszi, a professor of law at the university’s Washington College of Law and head of the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property, worked with an ad hoc committee on fair use and academic freedom assembled by the International Communication Association to write the text.

The Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Scholarly Research in Communication is targeted to the work of communications scholars, which draws on the empirical research methods of the social sciences and the qualitative studies of the humanities.

Like their counterparts in other academic areas, including art and art history, communications scholars are often unsure of their rights under United States copyright law. The new best practices give them general information about fair use and describe four situations in which it usually applies: analysis, criticism, and commentary of copyrighted works; quoting copyrighted material for illustration; using copyrighted work to stimulate response, discussion, and other reactions during research; and storing copyrighted material in personal collections and archives.

For more on how copyright relates to art and art history, please visit CAA’s website section on Intellectual Property and the Arts.

Several organizations, including the American Society of Media Photographers, the Professional Photographers of America, and the Graphic Artists Guild, have filed a class-action lawsuit against Google, claiming that by scanning millions of books the internet company has infringed on their members’ copyrights and failed to compensate them for their work.

According to Miguel Helft of the New York Times, the new lawsuit is separate from the Google Book Settlement between the company and a consortium of individuals and authors’ organizations. That decision is pending in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. Helft writes, “Google’s settlement with authors and publishers largely excluded photographs and other visual works. Legal experts said it was not unexpected that Google would face claims from groups that were not part of the original case and are not covered by it.”

The Office of the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC), a federal agency in the Executive Office of the President, seeks opinions on how the federal government should enforce copyrights and handle infringements. In a two-part survey, IPEC not only solicits written submissions about economic costs associated with intellectual-property violations, but also requests specific recommendations on how such violations can be dealt with. All comments should be sent by email.

Public Knowledge, a digital-issues interest group based in Washington, DC, writes, “The request for comments seems geared to take in complaints from big media companies and other major holders of copyrights, patents, and trademarks,” but also that it is “open to everyday consumers, citizens, and members of the public.”

An area that art historians may wish to address, for example, is the way that copyright controls on images have made it difficult for electronic texts to include copyrighted art images. For artists, an area of concern is the high cost of registering copyright in a visual image, and lack of good bulk registration tools at the US Copyright Office for visual-image rights holders.

Read more about the issue on the Public Knowledge website, which also includes a sample letter that you can tailor to your needs. Deadline: 5:00 PM on March 24, 2010.

The Office of the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC), a federal agency in the Executive Office of the President, seeks opinions on how the federal government should enforce copyrights and handle infringements. In a two-part survey, IPEC not only solicits written submissions about economic costs associated with intellectual-property violations, but also requests specific recommendations on how such violations can be dealt with. All comments should be sent by email.

Public Knowledge, a digital-issues interest group based in Washington, DC, writes, “The request for comments seems geared to take in complaints from big media companies and other major holders of copyrights, patents, and trademarks,” but also that it is “open to everyday consumers, citizens, and members of the public.”

An area that art historians may wish to address, for example, is the way that copyright controls on images have made it difficult for electronic texts to include copyrighted art images. For artists, an area of concern is the high cost of registering copyright in a visual image, and lack of good bulk registration tools at the US Copyright Office for visual-image rights holders.

Read more about the issue on the Public Knowledge website, which also includes a sample letter that you can tailor to your needs. Deadline: 5:00 PM on March 24, 2010.

The Association for Information and Media Equipment, a group of educational film and video producers and distributors dealing with copyright issues related to libraries, universities, and media centers, has threatened to sue the University of California, Los Angeles for streaming copyrighted video content on course websites. UCLA is claiming fair use, but the issue—involving royalty payments, academic-subsidized research, and current copyright law—is much more complex.

Steve Kolowich of Inside Higher Ed reports that negotiations between the organization and the school are private, and a debate about the legality of libraries making digital copies of DVDs it owns for wider dissemination to students has arisen. In his article Kolowich talks to librarians, professors, and media-industry experts to provide a larger, if not clearer, picture of what is at stake.

February 5 update: J. B. DeVries of Academic Impressions discusses policy issues when dealing with streaming video.

Following the submission of the amended Google Book Settlement in November 2009, the deadline for opting out was extended. The new deadline is January 28, 2010 (postmarked or submitted online on or before that date).

Those who had not opted out of the settlement may still do so, and those who had opted out may now opt in, if they so wish. If you wish to maintain your previous status, you need not do anything. (Under a class-action settlement, all class members remain in the class unless they opt out.)

Opt-out forms (to mail in) and instructions for opting out online are available at the settlement website. You may also read the settlement FAQ for more information.

Google Books Settlement

posted by November 09, 2009

Today is the deadline for a revised settlement agreement to be filed in response to a lawsuit by the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers, who are protesting the unauthorized copying of in-copyright books by Google.

CAA has prepared a summary article on the Google Library Book Project to better inform you about the issues at stake; included are a brief description of aspects of the settlement and links to articles and editorials from authors and reporters supporting or criticizing the settlement.

CAA’s constituency includes both creators and users of books. The Committee on Intellectual Property has taken up the matter for consideration and is currently considering what position, if any, to recommend.

CAA invites members in the tristate area of New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey to attend an upcoming panel on orphan works, entitled “Lost and Found: A Practical Look at Orphan Works.” The program is free and open to the public, but registration is required.

Lost and Found: A Practical Look at Orphan Works
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Meeting Hall, New York City Bar Association, 42 West 44th Street, New York

How should the law treat “orphan works”? Please join us as we discuss proposals that would enable copyrighted works to be used when their owners cannot be located to obtain necessary permissions. What should be the obligations of potential users with respect to searching for copyright owners? How should infringement claims be handled if a copyright owner emerges? Do different types of copyrighted works present unique issues? What roles might registries and recognition and detection technologies play? Our speakers will address these and related questions, focusing on orphan images.

June M. Besek, executive director of the Kernochan Center for Law, Media, and the Arts, is the panel moderator. Speakers are:

  • Brendan M. Connell, Jr., Director and Counsel for Administration, Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
  • Frederic Haber, Vice President and General Counsel, Copyright Clearance Center
  • Eugene H. Mopsik, Executive Director, American Society of Media Photographers
  • Maria Pallante, Associate Register for Policy and International Affairs, US Copyright Office
  • Charles Wright, Vice President and Associate General Counsel, Legal and Business Affairs, A&E Television Networks

“Lost and Found” is sponsored by the Art Law Committee (chaired by Virginia Rutledge) and the Copyright and Literary Property Committee (chaired by Joel L. Hecker) of the New York City Bar Association, in conjunction with Columbia Law School’s Kernochan Center for Law, Media, and the Arts.