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Google Sued For Unauthorized Links To Proprietary Adult Images

WebProNews
Staff Writer
Published: 2004-11-22

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Adult publisher Perfect 10 has sued Google for allegedly making available 800,000 unauthorized links to images of Perfect 10's nude models, advertising revenue and stealing membership fees.

According to RedHerring:

"The suit, filed in Los Angeles county, claims that Google committed 12 counts of intellectual property violations against Perfect 10 magazine and the web site, Perfect10.com.

Perfect 10 claims in the suit that Google's violation "is devastating to and threatens the existence of Perfect 10's business." The publisher's attorneys want a jury trial.

The suit states that Google's search results pull up photos of nude female models that belong to Perfect 10. These search results, according to the suit, constitute an infringement. Google's search picks up the photos from other Internet locations, which are described in the lawsuit as "stolen content sites," or web sites that steal images and allow Internet users to avoid paying subscription or membership fees for members-only pornography web sites. Perfect10.com charges $25.50 per month and counts 100,000 visitors per month."


Last Monday, a Federal Judge ruled against Perfect 10 on another but posibly related copyright lawsuit. From Law.com:

"Ruling from the bench, U.S. District Judge James Ware tossed out a copyright and trademark infringement suit brought against Visa International Service Association and MasterCard International Inc. by Perfect 10 Inc., which publishes an adult magazine and operates an adult Web site.

Perfect 10 claims hundreds of Web site operators around the world are selling its trademarked images of women -- and that the credit card companies that process these transactions are liable for contributory and vicarious copyright infringement.

Andrew Bridges, a partner in Winston & Strawn's San Francisco office representing MasterCard, said Perfect 10 was trying "to impose a commercial blockade on anyone accused of infringement." Ware found the credit card companies "are not obliged to manage their merchants away from infringement," Bridges added.

Perfect 10's attorney, Howard King, of Los Angeles' King, Holmes, Paterno & Berliner, said his client would appeal to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

"It's an area where the copyright law has not been directly applied, but it's logical given the case law," King said, citing suits against Napster and Grokster Ltd., whose software programs allow music file-sharing over the Internet."


Here's more on the Google case from the LA Times (via Detroit News):

"The company said it has sent 27 formal requests to the Mountain View, Calif.-based Google to remove the offending Web sites from its index and stop displaying the photographs in its search results, but was not satisfied with Google's response.

"It's very difficult to make money when all of your pictures are given away worldwide for free," said Perfect 10 President Norm Zada."


The article goes on to discuss previous legal rulings:

"In an earlier case, Kelly vs. Arriba Soft Corp., the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in 2002 that search engines could not display full-sized images without linking back to the Web site upon which they were posted.

But they could display smaller versions of the images, called thumbnails, without infringing copyrights. Google displays its results in postage-sized images, but links to Web sites that Perfect 10 says illegally display full-sized images. "


The Perfect 10 print magazine has long been lauded by Howard Stern, with its founder Norm Zada and pictorial models appearing as guest on his radio and E television shows. Perfect 10 is know for using only models with natural breasts.

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