BLOG*March 29, 2011


Google’s settlement with authors and publishers has been tossed out, shining a spotlight on copyright law.


I have been following the Orphans Works and Google digital library showdowns for a while now. These issues are important for all creators who copyright their work to protect it from unauthorized use. In a nutshell the Orphans Works issue concerns books, illustrations that are out of print and authors or artists who created them but cannot be found easily. Companies like Google and other large image houses like Corbis Images would have no problem selling that work without compensating the creator.

The Google Digital Library falls into this category too. The idea of a world wide digital library is an awesome concept. However whenever there is a corporation involved you can bet that there must be a profit margin  plugged into that idea. The beauty and power behind libraries is that they share knowledge for free, or next to it. Google wanted to charge you for that privilege. Plus did they really attempt to contact all the artists, authors, and estates that may be connected to the deceased ones? Probably no.

As the Illustrators’ Partnership comments, “The $125 million commercial agreement would have rewarded Google and the US Authors Guild for the largest mass infringement of authors’ copyrights in history. Instead, the judge ruled it a business deal “too far.”

Learn more about Orphaned Works here.

Read more about the Google Court Case here.

To your creative empowerment,

Greg