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Partial Victory for Perfect 10? 306

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the responsible-but-not-liable dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Internet News is reporting that a recent statement made by district court judge A. Howard Matz has declared a partial victory for Perfect 10 in their efforts to stop search engines from displaying their photos in an image search. From the article: 'Perfect 10 is likely to succeed in proving that Google directly infringes its copyright by creating and displaying thumbnail copies of its photographs. Perfect 10's copyright infringement case may take years to wend its way through the courts. But a victory could hamstring image search, along with video and audio search services.'"
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Partial Victory for Perfect 10?

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  • Question (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HeavensBlade23 (946140) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @01:29AM (#14774362)
    How is an image search substantially different than a text search? Wouldn't making a thumbnail with a link to the original image fall under fair use, the same as google cache or even the partial webpage text displayed in a regular google query?
    • Re:Question (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Belseth (835595) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @01:38AM (#14774407)
      How is an image search substantially different than a text search? Wouldn't making a thumbnail with a link to the original image fall under fair use, the same as google cache or even the partial webpage text displayed in a regular google query?

      They are displaying the entire copyrighted work not an excerpt. The owner has legal control of where and how the work is displayed. They would have to recieve permission to use the work in any form. A thumbnail is still the image itself just greatly reduced. They might get away with showing a modified alias of the work where it's stylized in some way but that's the only way around the issue I can think of.

      • Re:Question (Score:3, Informative)

        by ceejayoz (567949)
        Google Cache is legal [eff.org] - there's not much difference here. Seems pretty open-and-shut precedent in favor of Google.
        • Re:Question (Score:5, Informative)

          by TubeSteak (669689) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @02:12AM (#14774579) Journal
          If you RT entire FA, you would have discovered that the Perfect 10 is suing over thumbnail images.

          Why?

          Because those thumbnails are similar in quality to content that Perfect 10 sells for mobile phones.

          In other words, the thumbnail is copyrighted work. This is why you (the parent post) are wrong, and the GP is correct.
          • Re:Question (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Walkiry (698192)
            >Because those thumbnails are similar in quality to content that Perfect 10 sells for mobile phones.

            So, if you want to stop google from scanning and indexing all the books you want which are copyrighted, all you need to do is to offer every phrase in the book for, say, $5.99/use for fortune cookie manufacturers or even mobile phones. I bet the cost of a low-traffic server (thanks to the ridiculously high price) with the online shop for that would be a hell of a lot cheaper than the lawyers.
          • Easy solution... (Score:3, Insightful)

            by poptones (653660)
            Watermark all the thumbnails. Google could put a big "Gooogle" watermark across every one of its thumbnails and it would not degrade the usability of the image search itself. It would, however, pretty much destroy the value of the thumbnails as cellphone wallpaper.
          • Re:Question (Score:3, Insightful)

            by LinuxGeek (6139)
            Ok, I have to admit to being a tad confused over this issue. Google is only indexing and thumbnailing what is publicly available from the perfect10 site, correct? Then they are concerned that google is saving me a single step in doing the same thing? I could go download the publicly available artwork and shrink it for my phone and leave google completely out of the loop.
      • Re:Question (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ScrappyLaptop (733753) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @01:49AM (#14774488)
        Interesting, but I would consider a greatly reduced resolution picture to be the equivelent of an excerpt. Think of it this way; you are getting only every 100th pel, or 1/100th of the original work. That also fits the definition of an excerpt, don't you think? A lower resolution thumbnail taken in this respect IS a stylized, modified alias of the original work.
        • Re:Question (Score:2, Interesting)

          by YouTalkinToMe (559217)

          The tricky bit here is that they are arguing that the thumbnails have the same resolution and quality as photos that they sell to be displayed on mobile phones, meaning they have an inherent value.

          Of course, Google is not using them in the same manner, but one could argue that by displaying the thumbnails, Google is diluting the value (for example, for those people who use Google Image Search from their mobile).

          • Re:Question (Score:4, Insightful)

            by wheany (460585) <wheany+sd@iki.fi> on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @04:31AM (#14774985) Homepage Journal
            Google image search creates the thumbnails from bigger pictures available in the web for free. There is no value to be diluted. Anyone could take those same pictures and resize them and put them on their mobile phones. Except if they don't have the skills to do so or have a shitty phone.
        • Re:Question (Score:3, Insightful)

          by mikkom (714956)
          Usually framing of other peoples content for your site is also concidered to be strictly not okay and google is doing exactly that with their image search.
    • And what about magazines that feature an artists work in pictures about art galleries or about "this painting sold for a trillian dollars" or newspapers that feature the paintings or photographs as supplemental graphics to a story? Aren't these out there to bring up as examples of old business models that have been doing this for as long as I can remember?

      As an alternative that they might all agree to, how about google placing a watermark over the images they cache or display that says "Link" or something?

      I
  • robots.txt? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Evro (18923)
    Couldn't they just tell Googlebot not to index their images via robots.txt?

    http://www.google.com/webmasters/bot.html#robotsin fo [google.com]

    Case closed? Oh, sorry, I forgot Google has lots of money.
    • Kind of like saying "If I don't lock my door, it's ok to steal from me."

      Sorry, that doesn't fly in real life.
      • Re:robots.txt? (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        More like, "If I don't close my blinds, it's ok to look at me naked in my bedroom."
        In which case, yes it is.
      • More like "If I put something out on a public table, it's okay to take it."

        Besides, Google isn't "taking it" in any way that your web browser doesn't "take it" when you view a page. They aren't redistributing the original image. They are providing a reference to the original image. They are providing a thumbnail of the original image. The first is providing an index, which falls clearly within fair use bounds. The second is equivalent to quoting a small sample for research purposes, which also almost

        • More like "If I put something out on a public table, it's okay to take it."

          Po-tae-to - Po-tah-to. If you take it, it's still larceny.

          • Re:robots.txt? (Score:3, Informative)

            by dgatwood (11270)
            No, it is entirely dependent on context. For example, at work, we have a table in the lobby where people put things to get rid of them. No judge in the world would rule that picking something up from that table is larceny....

            Regardless, from a legal perspective, this is a copyright issue, not a theft issue. Since it is a copyright issue, this case is a clear cut, open and shut case. There is zero, repeat zero possibility that Perfect 10 will win this suit, though they may get a temporary stock boost i

      • More like standing around giving pictures away to anyone who asks for a copy.

        And then abruptly dragging someone they willfully gave a picture to through the legal system.
      • Kind of like saying "If I don't lock my door, it's ok to steal from me."
        No - more like saying "if put signs on the street you aren't allowed to look at them without paying".
    • Re:robots.txt? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Pinefresh (866806)
      so you have to opt out of having your copyrights being violated?
      • Re:robots.txt? (Score:2, Insightful)

        The grand assumption is that most will want their website indexed. Of course if someone is determined enough to keep their site from being indexed/copied by google, they should have used the robots file. Copyrights are always something you have to protect yourself; Perfect 10 skipped quite a few steps involved in protecting their copyright and went straight to suing google.

        This case is clearly a gold digging scheme, so here's hoping "Perfect 10" loses.
        • Of course, if a small typo were to enter into the exceptions database, say instead of http://www.perfect10.com/*.jpg [perfect10.com], they were to block http://www.perfect10.com/* [perfect10.com], well, hey... at least their images are safe!

        • Re:robots.txt? (Score:5, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @02:25AM (#14774634)
          As usual, horray for slashdot: where you can get modded insightful commenting on an article you clearly DID NOT READ.

          They are *not* suing google for indexing THEIR web site. They are suing google for indexing OTHER PEOPLE'S websites. Websites that are infringing on their copyright.

          I think their legal theory is BS, and yeah it sounds pretty gold-digging to me too. However all you people screaming "duh, robots.txt, LOL!!1!" are missing the point too. You can't put a robots.txt file on a domain you do not control.
      • I would suggest that displaying a thumbnail as part of a search is not having your copyright violated. Google search displays short quotes from websites as well. Is that copyright violation? Nope. Short quotes are allowed. What's the equivalent of a short quote for images? A thumbnail. Google thumbnails are REALLY small too.
        • Re:robots.txt? (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Irish_Samurai (224931)
          OK, I have seen this Thumbnail = Exceprt statement more than a few times and would like to point out something.

          Unless an Image thumbnail is defined or has precedence as being used under the guise of being equivalent to an excerpt in a court of law - this "common sense" definition is worthless.

          Now, I do not know if thumbnail images have been recognized as equivalent to excerpts in US courts - I'm just pointing out that it is unsound to make "logical" assumptions about things concerning law, because law is ab
          • Re:robots.txt? (Score:3, Insightful)

            by ceoyoyo (59147)
            If I were setting up a business like Google then I would agree with you -- figure out what the law actually is.

            Since this is basically a public opinion discussion forum, we talk about how things SHOULD work, not necessarily how they do. That's supposed to be the point of democracy... rather than waiting for a judge to tell you how things should be, the people figure out what should happen, tell their representatives, then those representatives make laws to tell the judges how things are going to be.

            I didn'
      • So you made your data publicly available with the expectation that nobody would want to look at it?
    • Re:robots.txt? (Score:3, Insightful)

      Maybe something like this should be opt-in? Like if there is no robots.txt file, it should default to not indexing? Personally, I feel like 99% of the web desperately wants to be on Google, hence it should be opt-out.
      • Re:robots.txt? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by horatio (127595)
        TFA kind of obscures the fact a little that P10 isn't complaining so much about Google indexing their site per-se, but rather sites of people who have ripped off P10's images and reposted them elsewhere.

        Like if there is no robots.txt file, it should default to not indexing?

        So we should change the entire ruleset that governs robots.txt because one company has their proverbial panties in a wad about their images being ripped off by their own subscribers and then indexed by spiders? Any RFCs you'd like to thr
      • I'd love to see Google win this, but P10 does have a point (even if they are only making it because they want a piece of Google's pie) - should store owners have to place signs saying "no stealing" at their door, or expect to give theives free rein on their stuff?

        I do believe Google has good intentions, and they don't even display ads on their image search. And maybe >99% of the web does want it "opt-out", but Google should not be above the law.
        • Re:robots.txt? (Score:2, Informative)

          by SvnLyrBrto (62138)
          > I'd love to see Google win this, but P10 does have a point (even if they are only making it
          > because they want a piece of Google's pie) - should store owners have to place signs saying
          > "no stealing" at their door, or expect to give theives free rein on their stuff?

          No, they don't have a point. Google doesn't take anything from anybody. The more apt analogy would be if you want your phone & address listing left out of the white pages and 411; in which case you most definitely *DO* have to ac
    • Re:robots.txt? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Embedded2004 (789698) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @01:39AM (#14774418)
      The problem in this case is that people rip their images and post them on other sites. Which google then spiders, so their unable to disable the spidering of their property.

      To me at least, it looks like they should be going after the people that steal their images, not google.

      • Re:robots.txt? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by RodgerDodger (575834) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @02:44AM (#14774712)
        The real question is: How is Google meant to identify that the images come from Perfect 10? Google is no more capable of recognising the copyright theft than it is of recognising someone plagarising from a NYT article (and violating copyright that way).

        OTH: If Google had even better image search, then the copyright owners could use Google to help track down the people who infringed by copying (not stealing) the images in the first place.
    • Re:robots.txt? (Score:5, Informative)

      by larry bagina (561269) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @01:39AM (#14774420) Journal
      yes, but that's not all....

      Second, most of the results for searches on his company name or the names of the models he has under contract lead not to Perfect 10 sites, but to sites that have pirated his images.

      Finally, the suit claimed that Google should be held liable for helping searchers find sites that display stolen Perfect 10 images because, in many cases, those sites also show Google AdSense contextual ads. "Google not only copies and displays Perfect 10 images itself," the request for the injunction read, "but also links them to Infringing Sites with which Google has partnered and from which Google receives revenue through its AdSense advertising program."

      They can ban google via robots, but google still displays their (pirated) images from other sites. Google has lots of money ... but they also make money (adsense) from those copyrighted images, which means fair use doesn't apply (per the judge).

      In a fair world, they should be thanking google for making it so easy to track down people who are improperly distributing on their copyrighted images.

      • Re:robots.txt? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by DrEldarion (114072) * on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @02:19AM (#14774608)
        They don't make money directly off image search - there aren't any adwords displayed on it.

        If you're talking about adwords on the sites that stole P10's images, then Google isn't the one infringing on the copyright, so they shouldn't be held liable.

      • It'd be easy enough to make images searchable by an md5 hash of the file. Then companies could police pirates using the search engine themselves. If they fail to do so then it'd be evidence that they don't mind the content being pirated.

        As someone that has subscribed off and on to Perfect 10 though they're not doing much to win my affection. I usually subscribe to them for a while when a pirated pic renews my interest in their content and then unsubscribe again when I get bored of them. Most 'adult' content
      • This is what the DMCA is for. Just send google a takedown notice, and the search results are gone. The DMCA (safe harbor) is also (together with fair use) what allows google to index the web in the first place, without too much fear for repercussions.
    • Or how about just not making their images accessible without a password. A search engine just does the searching and reporting of what's out there. If people are stupid enough to put their copyrighted materials, images and other crap on the web, why are they surprised that Google picked it up and indexed -- that is what Google does. "Don't want your stuff indexed -- don't put it on the web without any kind of access authentication."

      I might not like Google as much recently, in light of their position with

      • Exactly. This really seems like another lawsuit trying to get a piece of Google because they're big.

        Google shows tiny little thumbnails of images... I have photos on my website that are for sail and I think it's great if Google indexes them and makes them easy to find. I'd have a problem if they made the full resolution originals available, but then I don't put those on the web. Google doesn't even make the reduced size pictures I DO publish available without visiting my web page.

        I hope these guys don't
        • My cellphone's display is 1.5" x 1.25"
          Google Image thumbnails are larger than that.

          Perfect 10 is suing because the Google Image thumbnails are similar in size and quality to copyrighted works that Perfect 10 sells. Specifically, porn for your cellphone.

          So it doesn't really matter if Google is indexing content off the Perfect 10 website, or off other sites that utilize Google AdSense. This is the Judge's opinion, not mine.
          • Re:robots.txt? (Score:2, Interesting)

            by ceoyoyo (59147)
            So Perfect 10 makes these porn for your cell phone pictures available publicly on their website? So why exactly would I pay for them?

            Or does Google's spider pay for a membership and then enter it's password so it can enter the member's area? That would be wrong.

            As for the adsense thing, if a web page rips off your image, you sue them, not Google. If I steal your image and put it in my magazine you can't sue all the companies who paid me to put their ad in my magazine.
            • Could you please read the article? The scaled down versions on Google Images are the same quality and size as Perfect 10's cell phone images.
              • Could you read the post you replied to? Here, I'll quote it for you so it get's e-mailed:

                So Perfect 10 makes these porn for your cell phone pictures available publicly on their website? So why exactly would I pay for them?

                Or does Google's spider pay for a membership and then enter it's password so it can enter the member's area? That would be wrong.

                As for the adsense thing, if a web page rips off your image, you sue them, not Google. If I steal your image and put it in my magazine you can't sue all the com
                • OK, let me explain this more clearly for you. People pay for these images and then put them up on their website. Google Images downloads these full-size images, and then scales them down to the same size as the cell phone images for display on Google Images.

                  Perfect10 is not making these images publically available on their website. Other people are paying for them and then making these images publically available on their websites. Google Images is then indexing them from the third party websites.

                  Do you see
                  • Re:robots.txt? (Score:3, Insightful)

                    by ceoyoyo (59147)
                    So what you're saying is that Google is getting sued for something some random third party on the Internet did? Seems kind of silly, no?

                    Quoting AGAIN from my post, I believe this is the relevant part. To which you still have to add anything insightful:

                    As for the adsense thing, if a web page rips off your image, you sue them, not Google. If I steal your image and put it in my magazine you can't sue all the companies who paid me to put their ad in my magazine.

                    I'm having fun writing tags though.
                    • Yes that is what they are getting sued for, and the judge has ruled differently than you. And he is a judge, afterall.

                      He ruled that Google's ads on third party website mean that Google has not conducted secondary infringement, however, Google indexing the images from these third party websites and making them available on image.google.com is copyright infringement. There were two charges of copyright infringement, both primary and secondary, not just one. I was talking about the primary copyright infringeme
      • Funny story. Years ago, I paid for the "short time trial membership" (I don't remember, 2 days? 3 days?, whatever it was) that cost like $3 for the Perfect 10 website. This would only allow you to access a certain portion of the website. But who ever did the website allowed directory views such that if you knew what you were doing, you could access all the photos on the website (and by "knew what you were doing" I mean a really trivial use of backspace in the URL line, definately could not be considered
  • So let me see. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Geekenstein (199041)
    An image search takes a copyrighted photograph, manipulates it, and then stores it on it's server for display to a user of it's site.

    Sorry to say, seems like a pretty cut and dry case to me.
    • See Fair Use [wikipedia.org] doctrine for more info on why this isn't so cut and dry.
      • Re:So let me see. (Score:2, Informative)

        by larry bagina (561269)
        From the wiki:

        the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

        ...

        The subfactor mentioned in the legislation above, "whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes," has recently been deemphasized in some Circuits "since many, if not most, secondary uses seek at least some measure of commercial gain from their use" (American Geophysical Union, 60 F.3d at 921). More important is wheth

  • We'll never hear from (or of) them again.

    Never has victory left such a taste of ashes in your mouth.
  • by Spazntwich (208070) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @01:36AM (#14774393)
    Google could just start hotlinking the pics directly from their site, then resizing them to thumnails in the search.

    That wouldn't be copyright infringement, right? Just yanking publicly hosted photographs from their rightful and providing owner.
  • Thumbnails (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Quixote (154172) * on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @01:44AM (#14774451) Homepage Journal
    A thumbnail (which Google Image Search displays) is just a downsampled version of the original image.
    If it is OK for Google to distribute these, why is it illegal for a person to distribute downsampled versions of WAVe files (aka MP3s)?
    • If the typical MP3 were downsampled to 8khz/8 bits, I don't think there'd be as much of an issue...
      • Although, if we're talking about this in light of thumbnails being sold on cell phones, you (grandparent) have a better case. I guess craptastically sampled-down MP3s are being sold as ringtones...
        • Fair use requires that the copying doesn't significantly affect the commercial viability of the original. Since someone discovered that there are suckers who will actually pay for barely recognizable downsampled versions of songs you can't claim fair use anymore. Apparently people are dumb enough to buy thumbnail porn images too, so they're out. Good thing the consumers haven't been convinced to buy short excerpts from written works yet, so we can still quote things.
    • Re:Thumbnails (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Mr2001 (90979) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @02:12AM (#14774581) Homepage Journal
      If it is OK for Google to distribute [downsampled versions of original images], why is it illegal for a person to distribute downsampled versions of WAVe files (aka MP3s)?

      They aren't analogous. An MP3 file is missing much of the information that's in the original uncompressed audio file, but it's still functionally equivalent to the original; you can listen to it, burn it to a CD, mix it with other songs, etc. and in nearly all cases the differences between the MP3 and the original will be imperceptible. The information that's missing is information that your brain can't detect anyway (if the bitrate is reasonable and your encoder does a good job).

      A thumbnail image is also missing much of the information from the original, but it's not functionally equivalent. The information that's missing is information that matters. You can't see nearly as much detail in a 128x102 thumbnail as you can in the 1280x1024 original, which severely limits the usefulness of the thumbnail.
  • Local cache (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Lord Barrabas (70262)
    By the same logic, am I 'thieving' when my browser caches or displays their images? The only difference is that google is passing the images on, and I'm not. IANAL, is that difference critical?

    Also by the same logic, am I thieving when I access text on their site? Is google breaking copyright when it provides the first sentence or so from each result on a search?
  • RTF Search Notes! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Firehed (942385) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @02:00AM (#14774542) Homepage
    Image may be scaled down and subject to copyright.

    Not "Thumbnail (C) 2006 Google, original (C) whoever actually owns it."

    This is like being sued by a museum because you remember what a painting looks without having bought another ticket.

  • Hold on one sec (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gargletheape (894880) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @02:16AM (#14774596)

    So basically these Charlies sue Google because other websites pirate their content, and some of these have (gasp!) Google ads. Wow.

    And in any case, since when did it become necessary for a search engine to know that its searches link to content that violates someone's copyrights? I mean, even the RIAA wouldn't sue Google just because I can do searches like:

    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&c2coff=1&q= -inurl%3Ahtm+-inurl%3Ahtml+intitle%3A%22index+of%2 2+mp3+%22pearl+jam%22&btnG=Searchthis [google.com].

    (Not that they wouldn't like to try...)

    All Google needs to do is to remove links to infringing sites when these are brought to its notice, and even there it is allowed to display the actual complaint with the list of bad URL's.

  • Watermark ? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Foddrick (13702)
    What if google offered a watermarking app that allowed you to easily watermark an image that flagged it for do not index ? It would need to resist removal.
    • Watermarking images is a good idea, but not a secure one.

      If Google provides a program, it will either be reverse-engineered or blackbox tested. Either way, an automated tool will pop up that can remove/distort the watermark.

      Also, who wants to Google Brand their porn pics? If the watermark is non-visible, that just makes it easier to distort/remove.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    people posting about robot files don't understand the issue. Perfect 10 does block Google's web crawler. it is other sites that have stolen Pefect 10 images (by paying for an online subscription and then pillaging the site's images), and then Google Image Search indexes those sites, creates thumbnails of the stolen images, links to them, and then generates literally hundreds of millions of dollars from AdSense revenue.
  • by bmvaughn (913521) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @03:31AM (#14774826) Homepage
    ....that Slashdot recognizes my ability to get pirated porn under the heading "Your Rights Online."
  • by syberanarchy (683968) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @04:37AM (#14774999) Journal
    ...in 2006, who the fuck is dumb enough to PAY for jerk off material? :p

    On topic, Google can't possibly be held responsible for the actions of these sites. That's like the RIAA/MPAA forcing them to remove all links to any warez sites.

    Of course, I may just be giving them ideas...
  • by harl (84412) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @07:17AM (#14775409)
    Perfect 10 wins suit. Perfect 10 no longer has images on the search engines. Perfect 10 receives less traffic since people can't tell what's on their site. Less people sign up for the sight or buy the magazine. Revenew goes down.

    Congrats you've protected your IP but lowered your revenue stream. Good job! *applause*
  • by Rydia (556444) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @09:58AM (#14775975)

    Okay, so I actually read the opinion, at The court's site [uscourts.gov]. The substance of it is that there's no question that google is infringing a copyright (makes sense), because it is redisplaying images that are strictly for sale, and while the images are smaller, P10 itself sells images of that size, and the smaller resolution is still a form of reproduction. Google tries to rely on fair use, but fails because the court considered a "consumptive use" because google's ad service renders furnishing the image a commercial use, and since the reproduction is essentially identical to the image (though smaller), and the smaller image is actual for sale on the site. It's pretty much a slam-dunk for P10.

    People on /. need a heaping helping of knowing what the law means. (Hint: It's not "what my favorite company is doing is fine" or "what I think is right")

  • robots.txt (Score:3, Informative)

    by _iris (92554) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @10:20AM (#14776134) Homepage
    A co-worker of mine runs a photography business on the side. One of the photos he put on his website (of cinnamon sticks) was lifted by some cooking magazine to use as the centerpiece of their website. He emailed them, notifying them that the image was under copyright. They took the image down and replied that "It was on Google's image search", implying that they thought everything on Google's image search is free for the taking. Instead of bringing suit against Google or the magazine, my co-worker simply added a robots.txt to prevent the images from being indexed. End of problem.

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