Perfect 10 v. Google

Adult entertainment publisher Perfect 10 sued Google's Image Search service arguing that Google violates copyright law by indexing Perfect 10 photos posted on unauthorized websites then making and delivering thumbnail images of those photos in its search results. Perfect 10 also contends that Google should be held liable for any copyright infringement that occurs on sites that Google links to.

In February 2006 the district court ruled in favor of Google on several grounds but ruled against Google for its creation of thumbnails. EFF filed an amicus brief for itself and several library associations supporting Google.

Both sides subsequently appealed and EFF filed an amicus brief on behalf of itself and library associations supporting Google. On May 16 2007 the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals handed Internet innovators and users of all stripes a major victory in Perfect 10 v. Google (the opinion was subsequently amended on December 3 2007). While it leaves some questions open the bottom line is that the Court upheld important policies of fair use and freedom online and resisted Perfect 10's plea to put copyright owners completely in charge of how and when search engines and other online intermediaries can provide their users with links to images.

For a more complete description of the court of appeals ruling take a look at our Deep Link regarding the decision.

After the appeal the case was remanded back to the district court to decide whether Google is liable for contributory infringement. The case remains pending as of August 2008.

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