Major Court Loss For Google
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A US pornography site has won a legal victory over search engine giant Google ruling that it breached the company’s copyrights by publishing nudie thumbnails on its “Image Search” engine.

The porn site, Perfect 10, alleged that by making thumbnail images of its girlie pics available to all comers, Google robbed it of potential sales of the pics for use on mobile phones.

According to US District Judge A. Howard Matz of the US federal court, Google had less access to fair use rights over the images as individuals would because it makes a profit from the advertising it delivered with the pics.

In a twist on the ruling though, Matz found Google innocent in cases where it linked to other website which were illegally hosting the Perfect 10 copyright images.

The Judge told both company’s to get back to him with wording for an injunction barring Google from the use of the thumbnails, however, it’s not yet clear whether Google will appeal the case as the ruling could have a flow on effect to the content it reproduces from all other publishers.

Google has come under intense criticism for its use of copyright material in the past, however it has so far avoided court rulings by voluntarily removing material from its index.

While not confirming an appeal, Google has said this ruling will not affect the vast majority of images in its index, though it’s hard to see how it could defend itself from other publishers objecting to similar use. Although many publishers accept Google’s use of content as it helps drive visitors to their sites, there is a twofold effect.

Perfect 10 complained to the court that not only does Google re-publish its copyright material, but it also publishes links to web pages that list usernames and password hacks which allow illegal access to its protected content. The judge did not find Google responsible for this though.

Perfect 10 also bought the same charges against Amazon, which uses much of Google’s technology on its sites. District Court Judge Matz said he will deliver a separate ruling regarding Amazon’s breach of Perfect 120’s copyrights.