Perfect 10 Drops Copyright Case Against Google
After nearly eight years of litigation, porn company Perfect 10 has withdrawn its copyright infringement lawsuit against Google. Perfect 10 said in court papers that the withdrawal was with prejudice, meaning that it can't bring the same charges later.
Perfect 10 also promised that it won't bring any new cases against Google arising from any alleged copyright infringement that occurred in the past. At the same time, the adult publishing company didn't agree to drop a case against Google under way in Canada.
Papers filed with the court state that each party will pay its own attorneys' fees.
In the long-running lawsuit, filed in November of 2004, Perfect 10 alleged that Google infringed copyright by displaying thumbnails of Perfect 10 images and by providing links to the full-size images. The litigation resulted in numerous court rulings, but a few stand out as especially significant.
In 2007, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Google likely had a fair use defense to showing thumbnails of the images. In 2010, U.S. District Court Judge Howard Matz ruled that in many cases, Perfect 10 hadn't provided Google with detailed enough takedown notices for it to easily remove links to pirated material. And last year, a federal appeals court ruled that Perfect 10 couldn't prevent Google from forwarding takedown notices to the clearinghouse site chillingeffects.org.
Those notices included copies of some of the images that Perfect 10 had copyrighted. The company argued that its copyright was being infringed because now those images, and the URL to the host sites, were available for free through Chilling Effects' Web site. But Matz rebuffed Perfect 10, noting that the company had "failed to submit a statement from even a single former subscriber who ceased paying for Perfect 10's service because of the content freely available via Google."
Still, none of those setbacks have stopped Perfect 10 from suing other Web companies. Most recently, last week Perfect 10 sued Tumblr for allegedly failing to remove images in response to takedown notices. Tumblr hasn't yet answered the complaint.