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Perfect 10, Inc. v. Google, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
508 F.3d 1146 (2007)


Perfect 10 (plaintiff) sold copyrighted images of nude models. Google (defendant) operated a search engine that could provide results in the form of images. A Google image search provided results as small images known as thumbnails. The thumbnail images were small, low-resolution versions of full-sized images from other websites. The thumbnails were stored on Google’s servers, but Google did not maintain the full-size images on its servers. Perfect 10 claimed that: (1) Google’s search-engine program directly violated Perfect 10’s exclusive display and distribution rights in its copyrighted images, (2) Google had committed contributory copyright infringement by linking to full-size infringing images posted by third parties, and (3) Google was vicariously liable for the third-parties websites’ copyright infringement. The trial court granted a preliminary injunction preventing Google from creating and publicly displaying thumbnails of Perfect 10’s images, but did not stop Google from linking to the full-size images. Perfect 10 and Google both appealed.

Rule of Law

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Holding and Reasoning (Ikuta, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
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