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2/22/2006
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Google Ready To Appeal Photo Copyright Ruling

The company is expected to fight a recent court decision that it can't use thumbnail photos from an adult site.

Google Inc. on Wednesday said it expected to appeal a federal court ruling that would prevent the search engine from displaying thumbnail pictures of copyrighted images of adult magazine Perfect 10.

U.S. District Court Judge Howard Matz granted the magazine a preliminary injunction against Google, but said the order would have to be narrowly focused, so only Perfect 10 images displayed on Google results would be covered.

Matz refused to issue an injunction that would prevent Google from displaying links to third-party Web sites displaying Perfect 10 photos without the magazine's permission.

Google lawyer Michael Kwun said that while the company was disappointed over the injunction, it was pleased with the ruling on the links.

"We anticipate that any preliminary injunction will have no effect on the vast majority of image searches, and will affect only searches related to Perfect 10," Kwun said in a statement.

Kwun noted that Matz ordered both sides to work together on a "very narrowly tailored" preliminary injunction that would not impede Google's search engine, beyond Perfect 10 photos.

Nevertheless, the company intended to file an appeal.

"We continue to strongly believe in the benefits of Google Image Search to our users and content providers and expect to appeal any injunction," Kwun said.

Perfect 10, a Beverly Hills, Calif., magazine that competes with other soft porn publications, such as Playboy, sued Google in November 2004. The publication's parent company of the same name also has a pending lawsuit against Amazon.com for showing thumbnails of Perfect 10 images through the Internet retailer's A9.com search engine.

Perfect 10 argues that both search engines are violating its copyrights by displaying its photos, and is helping other violators by linking to their sites.

"We are very gratified that the Court ruled that Perfect 10 is likely to succeed on a key part of its claims against Google," Perfect 10 publisher Norm Zada said in a statement issued Wednesday.

Matz's ruling was issued Friday, but not released publicly until Tuesday. A trial has not been scheduled.

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