Why There's Still Some Good News In Google's Perfect 10 Loss

from the balancing-out-the-details dept

Yesterday we wrote about a judge's injunction against Google -- which we thought was odd, given that Google didn't appear to actually be doing anything illegal. They were simply profiting off of others doing something illegal -- and therefore, the focus should have been on the others. Over at the EFF, Fred von Lohmann has gone through the decision in more details and pulled out a number of good points that were not covered by most of the press coverage. Included in the decision was the fact that thumbnails, by themselves, are not infringing -- and that Google is not responsible for "creating an audience." Both are reasonable findings, consistent with previous rulings. The court also knocked off the completely out of left field assertion that simply visiting a website that has infringing material makes the visitor an infringer. All that said, there's still an injunction coming down -- and the reasoning behind that seems problematic, especially given all of the points above. The fact that some of the pages with these photos also contain AdSense seems completely unrelated to the search aspect. Also, it seems unfair to blame the advertising network for the content on certain pages. That's like saying the ad firm that places a magazine ad should be liable for a defamation charge if an ad it places appears in a newspaper across from a defamatory article.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  • identicon
    Stoned4Life, Feb 22nd, 2006 @ 5:45pm


    Google Adsense also has a policy against using advertisements on websites involved in illegal activities. Seeing that they haven't even enforced their own rules, although they may have now, does put Google in an awkward position. The guidelines do assume that google monitors sites for illegal content, does it not? Otherwise, how do they know you're going against their policy?

    That being said, could they have noticed, and not done anything against it if they were in fact making money from the website?

    Those are a lot of ifs, but don't get me wrong. I think it's obvious that no matter what, something needs to be done against the site infringing the copyright.

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

    • identicon
      Xanius, Feb 22nd, 2006 @ 6:08pm

      Re: adSense

      well, not only is there a rule against illegal activites, there's one against posting the ads on a site with images,mp3,video,or any potential copyrighted material....

      also taken from the adsense policy under material that isn't allowed.
      Pornography, adult, or mature content

      so it should have been disallowed in the first place.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 22nd, 2006 @ 6:09pm

    No Subject Given

    I think the logic, flawed or not is "Why should Google profit because of someone else's copyright violation?"

    If it isn't legally wrong, it sure stretches some moral boundaries. It could even be considered a little evil...

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

    • icon
      Mike (profile), Feb 22nd, 2006 @ 7:11pm

      Re: No Subject Given

      I think the logic, flawed or not is "Why should Google profit because of someone else's copyright violation?"

      That's irrelevant. Google isn't doing the copyright violation. There's no laws against profiting as far as I know.

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

  • identicon
    Fred, Feb 22nd, 2006 @ 9:02pm

    You miss the point

    The judge ruled that the presence of AdSense content on the infringing pages created a financial interest on the part of Google to drive searches to those pages. In addition the judge ruled that, since the magazine held copyright on the same images in the same format and resolution as the ones displayed on the Google pages, then Google itself, not the pages that were linked to via the images, violated their copyright. The fact that the judge allowed Google to participate in determining a remedy is acknowledgement that the determination is not obvious, but it is consistent with current copyright law.

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

  • identicon
    Ben, Feb 27th, 2006 @ 3:38am

    Google should remove them

    I think that if Perfect 10 wants to whinge about Google image search showing thumbnails of their copyrighted material, Google should consider removing them.... completely.
    If I were Google, I'd completely remove all trace of Perfect 10 from their search indexes, web, images, news, the works.
    They can then watch them come crawling back later when they have run out of traffic.

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

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