Service or Infringement?

Google’s image search set back from the LA Times

“U.S. District Judge A. Howard Matz in Los Angeles ruled that Google was likely to lose at least part of a copyright infringement case filed by a publisher of adult magazines and websites. Perfect 10 Inc. alleged that Google users could find for free its pictures of nude women, for which it normally charges. The search engine links to such images posted improperly on other websites.”

Most photographers we have heard from want their names and images to show up in Google because they view this as a form of free marketing exposure. But to prove that the diversity of thought on issue is as wide as the Grand Canyon, it seems that at least one adult content provider thinks this is a violation of his copyright.

In the case of Perfect 10, most images that Google is sourcing have been stolen, and being used to drive traffic to other sites. This is clearly differentiated from a case where a photographer wants to use Google almost like a marketplace to show off their work when it points back to a source where the image can be licensed legally.

So for all the benefits of rapid information exchange that the Internet has made possible, so many ambiguities over “fair use” have been exposed since not only the speed, but the breadth of the exchange has exploded.

What do you think?

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This article was written by

Allen Murabayashi is the Chairman and co-founder of PhotoShelter.

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