A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit by Playboy alleging that Boing Boing infringed copyright by linking to an outside site that displayed photos of centerfolds.
But the dismissal order, issued Wednesday by U.S. District Court Judge Fernando Olguin in the Central District of California, granted Playboy permission to amend its complaint and refile it.
The dispute stems from Boing Boing's February 2016 blog post titled "Every Playboy Playmate Centerfold Ever."
"Some wonderful person uploaded scans of every Playboy Playmate centerfold to imgur," the post reads. "Kind of amazing to see how our standards of hotness, and the art of commercial erotic photography, have changed over time."
Below that was a link to imgur, and a link to a YouTube video featuring the photos. The images on imgur and the YouTube clip are no longer available.
Playboy alleged in its lawsuit that Boing Boing's post infringed copyright. Boing Boing argued that the case should be dismissed on several grounds, including that the site has a fair use right to link to outside content and offer commentary. The site also argued that merely linking to material posted by outside parties doesn't infringe copyright, and that the allegations don't support the conclusion that Boing Boing contributed to copyright infringement by web users who may have visited the imgur and YouTube pages with the images.
Olguin said in Wednesday's brief dismissal order that Playboy should "carefully evaluate the contentions set forth" by Boing Boing. He added that he was "skeptical" that Playboy's allegations could support claims that Boing Boing induced or contributed to copyright infringement.
The judge set a February 26 deadline for Playboy to file an amended complaint.