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Google Sued by Pornography Website

November 23rd, 2004

Perfect 10, a nude photo website, is suing Google for allowing access to its private content for free. Perfect 10 says Google allows people to access the content, as well as allowing other sites to display the content for free, where normally the content would only be available to members and magazine subscribers.

“They´re showing pictures from my magazine and my website for free, so there´s no reason for anyone to buy my products,” Perfect 10 president Norm Zada told Reuters news agency.

Google refuses to comment, saying they haven’t yet seen the lawsuit.

Zada is stating the suit is based on spreading copyrighted materials and harming his ability to make a profit.

The company, which filed the suit at the federal court in Los Angeles, charges a monthly fee of $25.50 for access to its website.

Google searches throw up thumbnails of images owned by Perfect 10, which Mr Nada said are posted without permission.

He said his company had sent nearly 30 formal requests to Google, asking it to remove the photos and password lists from its search results, but was unsatisfied with the company´s response.

In similar cases, Google has stated that they are merely crawling what is publicly available and aren’t hacking into any websites to get pictures – also, they aren’t displaying the full quality images.

A judge may end up disagreeing in this case, though, as tests prove that Google does in fact show several thousand of Perfect 10’s images, and is obviously doing so without permission.

The suit is part of an ongoing war between certain publishers and certain search engines. Publishers contend that their content can only legally be distributed with their permission – a content they have had some problems defending in court.

The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles, will be an interesting one to watch – especially since a January 2002 ruling allowed websites to display thumbnails of private content, in much the same way as people are allowed to publish excerpts of copyrighted materials.

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