Google Sued by Pornography Publisher Over Image Search
Porn publisher Perfect 10 Inc. sued Google for copyright infringement last Friday, accusing Google of failing to remove from its search results thousands of photos posted online (on non-Google sites)without permission from Perfect 10. The lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, states Perfect 10 Inc. alleged that any web user can find its copyrighted pictures of nude women which have been pirated on other websites, for free by performing Google searches.
According to a wire report, Perfect 10 said it has sent 27 formal requests to Google to remove the offending 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,” Perfect 10 President Norm Zada told the Los Angeles Times.
More from the LA Times:
Perfect 10 is represented by attorney Russell Frackman, who also represented major record companies in their lawsuits against file-sharing networks for copyright infringement.
Federal law places the burden of identifying copyright infringement on the copyright holder. While Google is not compelled to ferret out violations, it is required to respond to violations brought to its attention.
Jonathan Zittrain, co-founder of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School, said Google has typically responded quickly to remove infringing works from its database.
Google has sometimes been accused of being too aggressive in responding to complaints of digital copyright violations. For example, the search engine company was accused of censorship after, at the request of the Church of Scientology, it removed from its searchable index Web sites criticizing the church.
“Google gets tons of notices and generally listens to them,” Zittrain said. “I’d be surprised if they weren’t listening to these.”
Google displays its results in thumbnails, but by linking to web sites which are showing the pirated images, Perfect 10 says Google is responsible.