Tag Archives: libraries

United States Court Of Appeals Decision For Copyright Registration

After many years, the Ninth Circuit finally entered a decision in the Alaska Stock, LLC v. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company case.  Reversing the district court’s dismissal of Alaska Stock’s copyright infringement claim, the court definitively held that Alaska Stock had “successfully registered the copyright both to its collections and to the individual images contained therein” despite the fact that the name of the photographer and title of each component work was not included in the registration.

In doing so, the Court gave deference to the long-standing Copyright Office registration procedures that had been created in 1995 in conjunction with PACA.  Further, the Court specifically rejected the decisions in other courts that refuse to honor registrations because they fail to name all of the photographers and titles of each photograph in a collective work.

It is clear that the Ninth Circuit understood the repercussions of its decision.  In conclusion, the Court stated:

We are not performing a mere verbal, abstract task when we construe the Copyright Act. We are affecting the fortunes of people, many of whose fortunes are small. The stock agencies through their trade association worked out what they should do to register images with the Register of Copyrights, the Copyright Office established a clear procedure and the stock agencies followed it. The Copyright Office has maintained its procedure for three decades, spanning multiple administrations. The livelihoods of photographers and stock agencies have long been founded on their compliance with the Register’s reasonable interpretation of the statute. Their reliance upon a reasonable and longstanding administrative interpretation should be honored. Denying the fruits of reliance by citizens on a longstanding administrative practice reasonably construing a statute is unjust.

Vital Imagery Ltd. announces acquisition of Clipart.com and AnimationFactory.com.

Vital Imagery Ltd., a leader in the online graphics subscription services, announced today that it has acquired Clipart.com and AnimationFactory.com from Getty Images. These pioneering websites offer royalty-free clipart, 3D images and animations, photos, photo objects, Microsoft PowerPoint templates, fonts, as well as video backgrounds, e-mail and web page backgrounds for use in commercial and personal projects.

Clipart.com and AnimationFactory.com join iCLIPART.com, Schools.iCLIPART.com, iPHOTOS.com and AcclaimImages.com, to make Vital Imagery Ltd., the largest supplier of clipart and 3D animations world-wide, increasing the inventory from the current 8 million to over 21 million.

The acquisition of Clipart.com and AnimationFactory.com strengthens Vital Imagery’s leading position with wholly-owned image assets for its current and future customers. Company co-founder and CEO Charlie Hoy said, “These acquisitions enhance the diversity of Vital Imagery’s image components and affirm its leadership position in the world of royalty-free online image subscriptions.”

Hoy adds that the company intends to retain all brands, while melding the technology, content and expertise of each into VI’s quality service. “We guarantee this purchase will result in extraordinary benefits for our customers and we are excited for the future of our company.”

President and co-founder, Alison Hoy said, “As we welcome new clients, we want to stress our continued commitment to Vital Imagery’s subscribers and we will enhance these extensive collections for our clients. We look optimistically to the future, to the potential this brings for continued growth and development.”

Headquartered in Brussels, Ontario, Vital Imagery Ltd. is a leading international provider of royalty-free images for commercial and non-commercial use. Its content is sourced from artists and photographers from around the world, ensuring diversity and quality. Vital Imagery has partnered with Microsoft since 2010 and the Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) partners exclusively with iCLIPART.com. VI is a proud member of both PACA, the Digital Media Licensing Association; CEPIC, the Centre of the Picture Industry; Better Business Bureau and the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses. Since 2008 the company has proudly donated a portion of every subscription it sells to help small businesses world-wide through Kiva.org. To date they have ‘given back’ to over 1,500 entrepreneurs. Early in 2010, Vital Imagery Ltd. launched its second subsidiary when iCLIPART For Schools became one of the resources offered by the Iowa Educators Consortium. Warner Bros., Nintendo, GM OnStar, ABC and CBS are among Vital Imagery’s many commercial customers.

 

Alamy now offering vector graphics as part of its complete image solution for picture professionals

alamy

  • Affordable, high quality vectors with one price and a simple license
  • 500,000 vector graphics available at launch, with plans to double the collection in the first year

Stock photo agency Alamy has today announced its move to supply the image market with vector graphics as part of its strategy to provide a full service to image buyers. Alamy has 45 million images online, including creative, editorial, live news and video.

The company is launching with a collection of 500,000 vectors from leading suppliers including YAY media AS, Matthew Britton and Pavel Konovalov. They aim to expand their collection rapidly over the next 12 months adding new content from their existing contributors as well as recruiting more specialists.

Vectors are great for designers, because they are scalable and can easily be resized without altering the quality of the image. If you print a vector logo on a small sheet of paper, and then enlarge it to billboard size it will keep the same sharp quality.

Ned Selby, partner at New Future Graphic agency said: “Vector graphics are a cornerstone of many of our design processes and it’s great to know that Alamy now offer them as part of their vast image library. They’ve made licensing vectors straightforward, with a simple flexible package of rights at one price.”

Rachel Wakefield, Alamy head of sales said: “We’ve been building our portfolio for the creative market and, when we talked to our customers, vectors was an obvious next step. It’s an exciting time, our content is getting more diverse as we continue to add new products – in the last two years we’ve added Live News and Video.  And we’ve made it really easy to buy as well – one simple transaction whatever the media.”

JUDGE CHIN RULES IN FAVOR OF GOOGLE IN AUTHORS GUILD CASE

By Nancy Wolff, Esq., PACA Counsel

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In 2004 Google entered into an agreement with a number of libraries to scan their book collections and in return provide them with digital copies of the scanned versions. Since then, Google has scanned over 20 million books and has made “snippets” of those still under copyright available to the public via search. This wholesale scanning of books resulted in a class action lawsuit brought in 2005 by The Authors Guild, and a few named authors, asserting that verbatim copying of books in their entirety by Google infringed the authors’ copyright in the books. The case was assigned to Judge Chin in the Southern District of New York. Google ‘s defense was fair use, an exception under the Copyright Act that permits certain uses of works in copyright without consent from the owners.

Initially the Authors Guild, and a group of publishers, who had also brought copyright claims against Google, and Google entered into a settlement agreement in 2008 that would create a registry and a way to monetize works as well as exploit orphan works, both from past scanning and on a going forward basis. Judge Chin refused to approve the settlement as unfair.

In 2012, Judge Chin did certify the class action, and Google appealed. The Second Circuit stayed the action and in 2013 denied class certification and directed that the issue of fair use be addressed by the district court before class certification. Judge Chin had since moved from the District Court to the Second Circuit but retained the case.  The publishers were no longer in the case, and Google brought a motion to dismiss the case based on fair use; the Authors Guild moved for summary judgment as to infringement.

On November 14, 2013, eight years after first being assigned this case, Judge Chin ruled in Google’s favor finding fair use and against the Authors Guild and authors, dismissing the copyright claim in its entirety.  The court listed all the benefits of the book-scanning project, including search, data mining, preservation, and making works easier to find for scholars and for users to purchase and find books. Judge Chin found that the use of the copyright works by Google served the purpose of copyright, by advancing the progress of the sciences and useful arts.

As fair use must be determined on a case by case basis, Judge Chin went through the traditional fair use analysis, weighing the four factors as outlined in Section 107 of the Copyright Act.

(1) The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

2) The nature of the copyrighted work;

(3) The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and

(4) The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

Over the years, courts have placed greater emphasis on the first and fourth factors. In looking in at the first factor, the purpose and character of the use, courts ask whether the second use is transformative, even though that term does not appear in the statutory language. It derives from a 1990 Harvard Law Review article written by Judge Pierre Leval on the nature of fair use and has been instructing courts ever since. The courts looks at whether the new work merely “supersedes” or “supplants” the original creation, or whether it:  “instead adds something new, with a further purpose or different character, altering the first with new expression, meaning, or message; it asks, in other words, whether to what extent the new work is “transformative.”(Quoting Leval)

According to Judge Chin  “Google’s use of the copyrighted works is highly transformative.  Google Books digitizes books and transforms expressive text into a comprehensive word index that helps readers, scholars, researchers, and others find books.  Google Books has become an important tool for libraries and librarians and cite-checkers as it helps to identify and find books.  The use of book text to facilitate search through the display of snippets is transformative.”

Judge Chin relied in part on Bill Graham Archives v. Dorling Kindersley Ltd., which held that small-size reproductions of concert posters as part of a historic timeline in a book on the history of the Grateful Dead was transformative. “The display of snippets of text for search is similar to the display of thumbnail images of photographs for search or small images of concert posters for reference to past events, as the snippets help users locate books and determine whether they may be of interest.  Google Books thus uses words for a different purpose — it uses snippets of text to act as pointers directing users to a broad selection of books.

Further, Judge Chin found that the use was “transformative in the sense that it has transformed book text into data for purposes of substantive research, including data mining and text mining in new areas”.

Although Google is a for profit company which would disfavor fair use under the first factor, the fact that Google did not sell the copies to the libraries, no longer sells ads on book pages, nor sells the snippets or books, did not tip the balance against fair use on this factor.

The second factor, the nature of the work, which looks at whether the underlying work is factual and less deserving of fair use, or creative and favoring fair use, did not play a significant role in the analysis and in fact has not been given much weight by the courts. The court noted that 93% of the works were non- fiction.

The third factor, the amount and substantially of the portion used was also insignificant in the court’s analysis and only weighed slightly against fair use. Admittedly Google scanned the entire works but the court noted that full scanning was functionally necessary to provide search and that only snippets were made available of copyright works.

The fourth factor addresses market harm as a result of the unauthorized use. The Authors Guild argued that Google’s scanned works replaced the market for the books and users could obtain what they needed through numerous snippets searches of the same work. Judge Chin did not find this argument persuasive and stated  “To the contrary, a reasonable fact finder could only

find that Google Books enhances the sales of books to the benefit of copyright holders. ” He noted that it would be impossible to piece together an entire book by snippets as Google’s technology prohibits it and that the search tools and links to where you can purchase books assists in making online sales of books easier.

Overall Judge Chin found that the Google Book project provided a significant benefit to the public: “It advances the progress of the arts and sciences, while maintaining respectful consideration for the rights of authors and other creative individuals, and without adversely impacting the rights of copyright holders.”

In addition to dismissing the direct copyright claim, it dismissed the Authors Guild claim against Google for delivering the scans to libraries, citing the previous decision in the HathiTrust case finding that the libraries use of the works to be fair use, in part by assisting the visually impaired. If the library use was fair use, Google’s use was also fair use and it could not be liable for providing them with the digital scans.

This case is a significant win for Google and a substantial broadening of the fair use doctrine. It permits a for profit company to mass digitize works without permission and reap many benefits in terms of search advantage, driving traffic to its site and the fact that it possesses the corpus, copies of 20 million books. While this decision is still a district court decision and will likely be appealed, many will rely upon the language in this decision, regarding fair use. Having all works available is certainly a benefit to society but the Copyright Act is intended to balance this benefit with incentives to creators and to offer exclusive rights for a period of time with limited exceptions. The exceptions have been expanding and this case is such an example with a balance tipping in favor of users.

Associations representing visual artists were excluded from the Authors Guild case and they, led by ASMP, have a separate class action against Google for the use of images scanned in the book project. In particular, this action was commenced when the settlement created a registry that excluded any compensation for images.   PACA is one of the associations that joined the action. While there are clearly differences between the image case and the text based case (the search benefits, data mining and directing users to purchase books do not benefit visual artist in the same way), which will require a different fair use analysis, this expansive interpretation of fair use is troubling for this case as well as other matters.

DIOMEDIA’s New US Office is Representing the BSIP Collection

DIOMEDIA is happy to report that the BSIP collection is newly available for licensing in North America. The French collection features over 100,000 up-to-date rights managed photographs and illustrations of health care, pharmaceuticals, nutrition, technology, physiology, wildlife, nature and the environment that are suitable for commercial and educational applications. The images are searchable by captions that include Latin names and species of plants and animals, as well as their taxonomy. To see a small selection of this outstanding collection click here.

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Diomedia/BSIP

Diomedia/BSIP

About DIOMEDIA:

The London based agency, which has a new US office that serves clients in North America, features:
· Over 20 Million high end model released photographs, illustrations and motion clips from top European and American sources covering classic films, interiors, life style, travel, art, history, outer space and much more.
· Unique user-friendly web tools such as new larger thumbnails that ease eye strain and save time spent on research.
· Advanced lightbox functions that allow storing and sharing unlimited images and downloads.
· Sorted image search results that provide cost savings by showing previously licensed RF images first.

DIOMEDIA has staff ready to help with specific research requests and pricing for customized image packages and subscriptions. The office is on the West Coast so staff can provide assistance for end of day deadlines on the East Coast. Please contact us_sales@diomedia.com for more information.