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Federal judge rules against Google in image copyright suit

[JURIST] A federal judge in California has issued a preliminary injunction [text, PDF] against search engine company Google [corporate backgrounder], requiring the company to remove images from its image search service [search engine website] that violate the copyrights of adult entertainment media company Perfect 10. The court found that Google violated Perfect 10's copyrights by displaying small "thumbnail" versions of digital images that were stolen from Perfect 10's website and hosted on free websites, which are then catalogued by the Google's web crawler [Google backgrounder].

US District Judge A. Howard Matz distinguished the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal's 2003 ruling in Kelly v. Arriba Soft [opinion, PDF] upholding the legality of thumbnail postings by search engines on the grounds that Google indirectly made money from the pilfered images as they ran on sites that ran Google AdSense [product website] ads. The court has ordered Google to remove the offending images. Google plans to appeal the injunction. The Rocky Mountain News has more.

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