Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

Porn Site Sues Google For Displaying Images

from the not-clear-at-all... dept

Google seems like a lawsuit magnet these days, which probably isn't too surprising. The latest one, though, is going to get a bit of attention, but so far the details aren't clear at all. It appears that a porn site is suing Google for displaying images from that site -- which they claim is a violation of their copyright. The article is too vague on the specifics of the lawsuit, but it raises a bunch of questions. The company in question claims that Google is hurting their business, since they can't charge for what Google is giving away for free. This implies that it's somehow "premium" photos that Google is displaying -- and if it's a subscription service then Google's crawlers shouldn't be able to access them anyway. So, it may simply be that others have taken the photos and copied them on free sites -- which Google scraped. That would be a nearly impossible situation for Google to police widely, and would require the company in question to point out each offender and have Google remove the images -- which would be quite a process. The other possible complaint is that Google is displaying images directly from their site within Google's image search. The only problem with that is that a US court has already ruled that a search engine can display thumbnails and a link to the original. Maybe the company should have filed the lawsuit in Germany where courts ruled the exact opposite, and said that thumbnails were a copyright violation. Either way, if the site didn't want Google scraping them, then why not put up a system to block it (robots.txt, anyone?). The reason, most likely, is that a lawsuit against Google acts as good publicity. Update: As explained by people in the comments, the lawsuit is about the first situation, with a publisher having photos displayed by other sites without authorization, which Google then scraped. So, the simple question is why aren't they going after the infringing sites?

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  • identicon
    Andrew Klossner, 22 Nov 2004 @ 12:36pm

    No Subject Given

    The plaintiff in this suit is not a porn site. They're a publisher whose photos are being posted without permission on porn sites, and they want Google to remove their links to those sites. They may or may not have a case, but this isn't a matter of stupid sysadmins letting robots past their authentication.

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

  • identicon
    Steve Mueller, 22 Nov 2004 @ 12:40pm

    Details Seem Clear

    The latest one, though, is going to get a bit of attention, but so far the details aren't clear at all.
    The article seemed to give enough details to figure out what happened. Perfect 10 is claiming some "offending Web sites" (not a term the suing company would use for their own sites) posted some of their content, which Google spidered. Perfect 10 sent 27 requests to Google to remove those sites from the index, but Google supposedly hadn't, hence the lawsuit.

    Of course, you have to wonder why Perfect 10 isn't going after the offending sites directly, as they're the ones actually violating the copyrights. Maybe they're located in regions where U.S. law doesn't apply, so Perfect 10 is trying to use the DMCA's take-down rules but Google isn't complying.

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

  • identicon
    Dave, 22 Nov 2004 @ 6:32pm

    Google and porn

    This is an intriguing problem, but, contrary to the comment made at the end of the article above, the issue is not simple. To wit: Google has been sued by a porn purveyor for posting copyrighted images on the web. Presumably Google has collected them because some unscrupulous subscriber to said porn service has copied the pictures and posted them to his site.

    To which the article above asks, the initially reasonable, but ultimately overly simplistic, question: "why aren't they [the porn purveyors] going after the infringing sites?" It very well may be that the relevant sites are foreign-owned or are on servers domiciled in a foreign country. If this is the case, the porn purveyor clearly would have more trouble going after the rogue sites than going after Google. This again points to the troubles governments and rules of law have when it comes to the internet, given its global, unstructured nature.

    The question is not a simple one of "going after" the rogue sites.

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

  • icon
    Curtis (profile), 29 May 2011 @ 10:48pm

    This lawsuit was decided in error...

    This lawsuit was decided in egregious error and the ruling does not have any impact except for parties afraid to defend their personal rights granted in the Visual Artists Rights Act("VARA").

    Thumbnail do not violate 17 U.S.C.? ONLY in the confused courts of the United States until they are educated about copyrites in New York, CA, and Arkansas by this particular Plaintiff.

    Perfect 10 Inc v. Google Inc et al (2:2004cv09484)

    Has the appeal been decided? Not hardly....(10-56316) Argued April 11, 2011 and not decided yet by the confused judges.
    Perfect 10 Opening Brief PDF
    Google Redacted reply Brief PDF

    Read linked Briefs and try to understand.
    It is not rocket science!

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

  • icon
    Curtis (profile), 21 Dec 2013 @ 5:06pm

    My linked case above...

    resulted in GOOG spending SEVERAL hundreds of thousands to help guide the elderly Article III judge to claim or misinterpret the US moral copy[rite] regime of 106A does not protect [sic]"online". Current complaint served yesterday in most common text formats. Doc/PDF/ODT/rtf/txt Free mirror of the docket and all filings.
    The idiotic US ruling that indecent thumbnails can be fair-use is called per se unconstitutional in this suit and the ENTIRE backwards US Copy[rite] regime with fair-use is called per se unconstitutional.
    ALL PORN SHOWN TO THE UNAUTHENTICATED IS CALLED CRIMINAL because it has been since Wi-Fi radio developed.
    Yes; I failed to protect one pornographers' moral right{mine} to exclusively control showing morally questionable art to children in the case linked above.
    ANY display of a porn image to the anonymous by GOOG, MSFT or ANYONE ELSE is criminal. The emperor has been naked for twenty+ years.
    Neeley v FCCs, et al, (5:13-cv-5293) can be seen above or be ignored.
    I know GOOG/MSFT/US Attorney General/FCC/US Senators/US Representatives will NOT ignore this litigation like everyone else will to help keep porn flowing to the anonymous for free.

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

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