A U.S. District judge ruled against Google this week in a case involving Google’s image search and adult website Perfect 10. Perfect 10 sued Google last year, saying that the thumbnail images provided by Google’s image search were a violation of copyright law. The judge granted a preliminary injunction against Google that will force them to stop caching and displaying 3,000 Perfect 10 thumbnails.
The judge said that the thumbnail images were a violation of copyright, particularly with Google’s mobile image search, which lets users save thumbnail images to their mobile phones. He also cited Google’s profitable search ads. Perfect 10 claims that the thumbnail images people can save to their mobile phones are nearly identical in size and quality to the images they receive through their mobile paid subscription service. However, the judge also said that Google’s habit of “framing” images from their search results was not a violation and consistent with fair use.
The lawsuit was also combined with one by Perfect 10 against Amazon’s A9 search engine, but the latter will be handled separately. Google says they will appeal the decision, and says that the judgment will have little effect on the way their image search works.