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?