Supreme Court Tells Perfect 10 It Can't Blame Payment Processors For Copyright Infringement

from the let-me-explain-to-you-the-concept-of-safe-harbor dept

Perfect 10 was an "adult" magazine publisher who had trouble adjusting to the massive change in the market called "the internet," and has since gone on a rampage suing just about everyone for copyright infringement -- though, amusingly, it almost never seems to target those actually responsible for copyright infringement. The issue is that people took scans of images from Perfect 10's magazines and put them online. That is, without a doubt, copyright infringement. No one denies that. But there's no money in suing individual random people, so Perfect 10 went after those with money, starting with Google. Why Google? Well, because Google's image search results would show thumbnails of the images it found (though, of course, Google had no way of knowing they were infringing). Courts have ruled that simply showing a thumbnail in a search result is not infringement, so Perfect 10 contorted to make the case even more confusing, by saying it was the combination of the thumbnails and the fact that many of the sites hosting the scanned images showed Google Ads that was the problem. Luckily, after a lower court agreed with Perfect 10, the appeals court overturned the ruling. Despite this, Perfect 10 has gone on to sue others, including Microsoft with nearly identical charges to the Google case.

Even worse, Perfect 10 then tried to sue anyone who processed payments for the sites that hosted the infringing images, claiming that they were liable for copyright infringement as well. Of course, as is clearly stated in the law, and well supported in the case law, a service provider is not responsible for what its users do. Everyone knows this by now, but it didn't stop Perfect 10 who got slapped down in the lower courts, at the appeals court and now (finally) at the Supreme Court. Yes, the Supreme Court had to waste it's time deciding whether or not to take this case and wisely turned it down. At some point you would think that the folks at Perfect 10 would stop trying to sue everyone and start focusing on maybe changing its business model. Or is that too difficult?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 4th, 2007 @ 1:32am

    They should focus on pictures of nekkid ladies.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    Chris, Dec 4th, 2007 @ 1:49am

    Why wouldnt they want to change?

    I have a feeling that whatever they spend on print, it would be a whole lot cheeper to just host their content online. Last I checked, there are plenty of services that cater to this niche, and rather lucrative ones at that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
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    sqkywhl, Dec 4th, 2007 @ 6:00am

    Supreme Court Tells...

    Isn't this misrepresenting the facts by Tech Dirt? Did the Supreme Court say anything other than they would not hear the case? To tell Perfect 10 anything they would have to agree to hear the case.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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    Jason Still, Dec 4th, 2007 @ 6:12am

    Re: Supreme Court Tells...

    Since the Supreme Court is the highest court in the land, I believe being told they won't hear your case is essentially the same as them saying your case has no merit. So in this instance, since they've already been told by lower courts that they can't sue the processors, the Supreme Court has effectively agreed by denying to even hear the case.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Max Powers, Dec 4th, 2007 @ 6:30am

    Deep Pockets

    Some of these lawsuits get interesting for no other reason than the way they look for a way to reach the deepest pocket.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 4th, 2007 @ 6:30am

    Re: Re: Supreme Court Tells...

    Most people operate on similar logic. If you appeal and appeal and appeal, and the Supreme Court refuses to hear the case, its basically like them agreeing with the lower court. Either way, the lower court's ruling is the last one used and effectively final.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Neumann, Dec 4th, 2007 @ 6:38am

    Re: Re: Supreme Court Tells...

    I believe the Supreme Court only hears cases that pertain to constitutional law. So by refusing to hear the case, all they have said is that there are no way the constitution applies to this particular case. Course, that's just what I remember from my High School Civics class...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
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    wrk, Dec 4th, 2007 @ 10:07am

    Re: Why wouldnt they want to change?

    Or host all their content online AND continue to publish a magazine. Wired figured out they could do both and still survive, I wonder why others can't?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    John, Dec 4th, 2007 @ 2:55pm

    Changing their business model

    At some point you would think that the folks at Perfect 10 would stop trying to sue everyone and start focusing on maybe changing its business model. Or is that too difficult?

    Yes, but Perfect 10 has changed their business model. They've found the adult content market to be too difficult, so now they've become a "suer": a company that makes its money by suing people, not by creating content.

    The RIAA found that CD sales were falling. Instead of figuring out how to make money from online sales, they started issuing lawsuits.
    It seems Perfect 10 is doing the same thing.

    Plus, think about the free advertising. How many people had heard of Perfect 10 before these articles were written? You can't buy this kind of publicity.

    Why pay for models and photographers and marketing and advertising when you can potentially make millions by suing people? Sure, you may lose in some courts, but if you keep appealing enough times, maybe you'll find a court where you can win.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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