Court ends ruling halting Google sex thumbnails from Reuters covers the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals lifting a preliminary injunction against Google over showing thumbnail images.
In February 2006, a lower court ruled in favor of Perfect 10, which claimed Google violated copyright law by displaying thumbnails of images from its web site.
An injunction against showing thumbnails was granted yet stayed until a further legal review could be done. In overturning that ruling, the appellate court wrote:
We conclude that Perfect 10 is unlikely to be able to overcome Google’s fair use defense and, accordingly, we vacate the preliminary injunction regarding Google’s use of thumbnail images.
However, Google could potentially be liable for linking to full-sized versions of the images:
Google could be held contributorily liable if it had knowledge that infringing Perfect 10 images were available using its search engine, could take simple measures to prevent further damage to Perfect 10′s copyrighted works, and failed to take such steps.
Postscript: Eric Goldman just added his expert legal thoughts on the ruling.