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Ninth Circuit Rules on Copyright Challenge to Google Image Search

June 04, 2007

By Naomi Jane Gray and Lee Kissman

On May 16, 2007, the Ninth Circuit issued an opinion with significant implications for users of content on the Internet in Perfect 10, Inc. v. Google, Inc., __ F.3d ____, 2007 WL 1428632 (9th Cir. May 16, 2007). The courts wide-ranging opinion touched on such varied issues as the rights of display and distribution, fair use, contributory infringement and vicarious liability and will reverberate throughout the online community. Although the opinion focused primarily on the Google browsers Image Search function, it will affect search engines and websites that incorporate third-party content, whether through the practice of in-line linking or by storing and displaying content on proprietary servers.