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February 22, 2006
Google Images Ruled Illegal
Google's Image Search service is illegal.
U.S. District Judge Harold Matz of Los Angeles delivered this stunner in a suit originally filed by a porn firm, Perfect 10.
At issue is the Google Image Search caching and delivery of "thumbnail" images, which is the only way to tell someone what an image hit consists of. Perfect 10 not only sells its images to Web sites, but sells smaller "thumbnails" of those images to people with mobile phones, and those thumbnails, by themselves, represent product it wants money for.
Last March Agence France-Presse also filed suit against Google, claiming its delivery of thumbnails as well as portions of its news stories violated its copyright.
Decisions like this are beyond brain-dead. They essentially render the Internet impossible.
But more important they are counter-productive both to porn sellers like Perfect 10 and news agencies like Agence France-Presse. If an image or story can't be found, it doesn't exist. Since most users search for and find content, rather than going directly to it through an individual site, it is in the best interests of these people to actively cooperate with Google, rather than demand they be expunged from its database.
The best way for Google to get back at this point is to simply cooperate. Let them be unfound, and then not exist. But never pay for linking -- never, ever, ever.
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