Google Can Show Nude Photos of World’s Most Beautiful Women
Perfect 10 magazine, which offers a subscriber-only service that claims to have photos of “the world’s most natural beautiful women,” sued Google in 2004 for providing thumbnail versions of images from the magazine. A district court had found at a preliminary hearing that Google’s images probably constituted direct infringement. But on Wednesday, the federal appellate court disagreed.
The magazine is not likely to prevail against Google’s fair-use defense, which allows the courts to avoid rigidly applying the copyright statute when “it would stifle the very creativity which that law is designed to foster,” the court ruled, citing Stewart v. Abend, 495 U.S. 207, 236 (1990).
“We conclude that the significantly transformative nature of Google’s search engine, particularly in light of its public benefit, outweighs Google’s superseding and commercial uses of the thumbnails in this case,” wrote Judge Sandra Ikuta, who authored the opinion. Judges Cynthia Hall and Michael Daly Hawkins concurred.
They did, however, reverse the lower court’s ruling and leave the door open for Perfect 10 to argue on remand that Google and Amazon.com are secondarily liable for copyright infringement. The lower court had consolidated the publisher’s suit against Google with a similar copyright infringement suit against Amazon.com.