Supreme Court Won't Hear Perfect 10's Silly Lawsuit Against Google; Good Ruling Stands

from the phew dept

Perfect 10 has basically made a business out of suing companies claiming copyright abuse. The former publisher of "adult" magazines has gone on a rampage suing tons of companies -- including all the major search engines -- claiming that pointing people to infringing results and showing thumbnails of copyrighted images is infringement itself. For an eye-opening look at Perfect 10, the best read is probably Rapidshare's countersuit from a few years ago, that goes into detail on how the company operates. So far, Perfect 10 has lost almost all of its big cases -- including those against both payment processors and search engines. To be honest, in the long run, Perfect 10 may have done a lot of good in presenting cases that highlight the clear insanity of certain interpretations of copyright law, providing strong and clear precedents from court rulings that have been tremendously useful in other cases.

The lawsuit against Google for showing thumbnails has bounced around for years, with the appeals court saying that showing those thumbnails is fair use -- something those freaking out about Pinterest might want to keep in mind. As it's done before, the Supreme Court has (once again) rejected one of Perfect 10's appeals, meaning that the (strong) lower court ruling stands. Yes, technically, it only applies in the 9th Circuit, but this ruling seems to be one that other courts are willing to cite and use, so hopefully the precedent is considered more widespread. While it would have been nice to have a Supreme Court ruling smacking down Perfect 10 and making such a clear fair use ruling apply across the board, for now we'll be happy with just keeping the good 9th Circuit ruling in place.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Mar 2012 @ 7:15am

    Good Ruling Stands

    Have you read the whole thing? I sincerely doubt that you'd refer to it as a "good ruling" if you had. The Ninth Circuit says that Google can be contributorily liable if it knows that links in its search results point to infringing material yet fails to act.

    Accordingly, we hold that a computer system operator can be held contributorily liable if it “has actual knowledge that specific infringing material is available using its system,” Napster, 239 F.3d at 1022, and can “take simple measures to prevent further damage” to copyrighted works, Netcom, 907 F.Supp. at 1375, yet continues to provide access to infringing works. *** Applying our test, Google could be held contributorily liable if it had knowledge that infringing Perfect 10 images were available using its search engine, could take simple measures to prevent further damage to Perfect 10's copyrighted works, and failed to take such steps.
    Perfect 10 v. Amazon/Google, 508 F.3d 1146, 1172 (9th Cir. 2007).

    You've complained before that linking to infringing material shouldn't give rise to liability, but thanks to the wonderful efforts of Perfect 10, the Ninth Circuit has now explained that such linking does give rise to liability. Thanks, Perfect 10!

    So far, Perfect 10 has lost almost all of its big cases -- including those against both payment processors and search engines. To be honest, in the long run, Perfect 10 may have done a lot of good in presenting cases that highlight the clear insanity of certain interpretations of copyright law, providing strong and clear precedents from court rulings that have been tremendously useful in other cases.

    Um, you really should actually read the case, Mike. Perfect 10 won on the notion that search engines can be liable for linking to infringing material once they knowledge of it and fail to act. You're right, Perfect 10 is "providing strong and clear precedents from court rulings that have been tremendously useful in other cases."

    LOL!

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