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Google Perfect 10 thumbnails 'breach copyright'

Search engine giant stung by nude pics ruling

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Google has been held liable for infringing the copyright of images purloined by others from adult website Perfect 10. Thumbnail images displayed in Google Image Search breached Perfect 10 copyright, according to a preliminary ruling in a US Federal Court this week.

But US District Court Judge Howard Matz held Google was not responsible if surfers clicked on thumbnails that directed them to full size porno images hosted on third party websites, taken without permission from the official Perfect 10 site. Perfect 10 argued that these hi-res pictures constituted a copyright infringement by Google as well as the third-party sites. Matz rejected this argument and proposed a narrow preliminary injunction that respected Perfect 10's copyrights while upholding Google's broader right to catalogue online images, AP reports.

No trial date has been fixed. Perfect 10 said it was confident it would win on both strands of its case at trial. Google said the preliminary ruling would only effect searches relating to Perfect 10 adding that it would contest any injunction. "While we're disappointed with portions of the ruling, we are pleased with Judge Matz's favourable ruling on linking and other aspects of Google image search," Google spokesman Michael Kwun said.

Perfect 10 is also suing Amazon-run A9, which uses Google technology, over the same issue. The courts are yet to consider the A9 portion of the case. ®

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