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Thumbnails to be clipped, US judge rules.
engine




msg:1231697
 2:39 pm on Feb 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

Internet giant Google infringed copyright rules by posting thumbnail-size photos from other websites on its search-results pages, a US judge said in a ruling issued yesterday.

[odt.co.nz...]

 

asp4bunnies




msg:1231698
 3:04 pm on Feb 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

Because it would be a lot easier to hire lawyers to sue Google for an injunction, than to add them to your robots.txt.

Sheesh.

MatthewHSE




msg:1231699
 3:08 pm on Feb 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

Because it would be a lot easier to hire lawyers to sue Google for an injunction, than to add them to your robots.txt.

That's not the issue. They've been doing this by default, without permission. The popular analogy is something like, if I don't put a lock on my door, do you have the right to come in and take my stuff?

turbohost




msg:1231700
 3:12 pm on Feb 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

Alexa (an Amazon company) does exactly the same ...

Turbo

digicam




msg:1231701
 3:44 pm on Feb 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

does this mean they will have to stop doing this or will they ignore the ruling?

FrankWeb




msg:1231702
 3:53 pm on Feb 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

It is too bad, this is what makes the internet powerfull and great.

What's next, google has to ask for permission in writing before crawling your website?

john_k




msg:1231703
 4:07 pm on Feb 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

Alexa (an Amazon company) does exactly the same ...
Turbo

Alexa creates a thumbnail of the website homepage.

The copyright case with Google has to do with the Google image search results which display thumbnails of images from a website.

(I'm not saying Alexa is any more right or wrong, I'm just pointing out the distinction)

lgn1




msg:1231704
 4:10 pm on Feb 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

That's not the issue. They've been doing this by default, without permission. The popular analogy is something like, if I don't put a lock on my door, do you have the right to come in and take my stuff?

That's a bad analogy, because 99.9999999999% of us wants google to crawl our website, and crawl it deep.

It would have been easier for Perfect10 to hire a webmaster instead of a lawyer.

If Google Images are discontinued, because of some stupid idiot running a smut site, can't learn to use a robot exclude file, Im going to be pis*ed.

I hope that google ads perfect10 to their banned Website list. Let see how much revenue they loose then :)

born2drv




msg:1231705
 4:14 pm on Feb 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

What's next, google has to ask for permission in writing before crawling your website?

I hope so. Then maybe search engines will be calling us to list our websites becuase we have not included them in our robots.txt. Cnet could protest for example if their digital camera reviews were no where to be found on the first 5 pages by excluding certain search engines. It would give all the large quality content providers some needed leverage.

Then perhaps we will have a way to communicate with the SE's and discuss why our websites are penalized, why they reward so many spammy websites, etc. I'm sick and tired of not being able to communicate with the SE's. If they had to get our permission to list our websites I think it would be a huge victory for both the online webmaster and the search engine user as far as quality.

whoisgregg




msg:1231706
 4:16 pm on Feb 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

The interesting point is that Perfect 10 sells it's images as mobile phone wallpapers.

inuwolf




msg:1231707
 4:17 pm on Feb 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

What's next, google has to ask for permission in writing before crawling your website?

I hope they do. That would leave webmasters like us less deadbeats to compete with in the SERPS. :) And I agree with lgn1; crawling benefits the greater good. Lawsuits like this make me miss democracy.

[edited by: inuwolf at 4:24 pm (utc) on Feb. 22, 2006]

asp4bunnies




msg:1231708
 4:17 pm on Feb 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

The popular analogy is something like, if I don't put a lock on my door, do you have the right to come in and take my stuff?

Not really, because noone has the right to enter someone else's apartment, lock or no lock. Google did have the right to use sites thumbnails, even without permission, thanks to Fair Use, as ruled under Kelley v. Aribbasoft (ditto.com case).

europeforvisitors




msg:1231709
 4:18 pm on Feb 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

This sounds like a fairly narrow ruling:

1) First, it's only about images.

2) Second, it isn't about all images, but only images in a search engine (Google) that earns revenues from advertising.

3) Third, it's about the impact of Google's image-search results on the plaintiff's sales of thumbnail images.

The one part that mystified me was item #2. Google earns money from advertising, but not from advertising on image results. In fact, Google doesn't even display ads on pages of image results.

NoLimits




msg:1231710
 4:20 pm on Feb 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

I would expect to be sued if I infringed copyrights in the same manner. Why should Google be above the law?

I think it's high time that Google got a reality check. I hope the Google cache gets hit next. I'm not comfortable with them using my EXACT reproduced content with their branding - and links back to THEIR content. It is copyright infringement, plain and simple.

It doesn't matter if 90% of webmasters want their images to appear in Google Image Search - it's that Google didn't even ask if they could put them there.

[edited by: NoLimits at 4:31 pm (utc) on Feb. 22, 2006]

Kufu




msg:1231711
 4:28 pm on Feb 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

{quote]I hope that google ads perfect10 to their banned Website list.[/quote]

Would love to see that happen.

They are getting free advertising and are suing the person who is providing the free advertising for them. A shot in the foot anyone?

jwolthuis




msg:1231712
 4:38 pm on Feb 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

I'm not comfortable with them using my EXACT reproduced content with their branding

You can prevent them from caching your site with a Robots noarchive meta tag.

tantalus




msg:1231713
 4:42 pm on Feb 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

What's next, google has to ask for permission in writing before crawling your website?

Actually I'm thinking about including a TOS on my site/robot.txt similar to googles...

"The Google Services are made available for your personal, non-commercial use only. You may not use the Google Services to sell a product or service, or to increase traffic to your Web site for commercial reasons, such as advertising sales."

Just replace Google Services with Mysitename ;)

steve40




msg:1231714
 4:43 pm on Feb 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

hmmm wonder if Google is starting to make political foes and this is some of the fallout

1 G refuses to provide US government with requested information
2 Google mission statements to
Organise the worlds information and make it available but NOT TO CHINESE Populace
DO NO EVIL but only provide information that a dictatorial government believes should be available to it's people for the sake of money

Over the years governments do and will continue to encourage companies to be successfull but when those same politicians decide a company is getting to big for it's boots they have the power and the will to flex muscles and do major harm to companies

Many years ago when microsoft was an enabler of technology for the masses most governments encouraged and enabled their efforts but when Microsoft had a power beyond politics they were and continue to be reigned in as many of the fines they have been given both in North America and Europe for "shady business practices" show

I think this may well be the start of political fallout following G's decisions which if right or wrong have made political foes

steve

BillyS




msg:1231715
 4:44 pm on Feb 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

>>They are getting free advertising and are suing the person who is providing the free advertising for them. A shot in the foot anyone?

Agree, apparently they care more about protecting an image than making money at Perfect 10.

Google should just do them a favor and ban their entire website. Perhaps then they will be back in court suing Google to get back in. ;)

europeforvisitors




msg:1231716
 4:49 pm on Feb 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

Again, it's a narrow ruling about a very specific issue, and it has nothing to do with "political fallout," search engines in general, or the Google/Yahoo/MSN cache.

Let's not make a mountain out of a molehill, or pretend that a tempest in a teacup is Hurricane Katrina.

figment88




msg:1231717
 4:58 pm on Feb 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

What's next, google has to ask for permission in writing before crawling your website?

Actually, I don't think that's next, I think that is in the past. They have chose chose to ignore this inconvenient fact.

People who always point out how simple it is to put a disallow statement in robots.txt file should remember it is just as easy to place allow statements.

jomaxx




msg:1231718
 5:11 pm on Feb 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

An important (IMO) aspect of the case is that Perfect10 was complaining that Google was cacheing images from 3rd-party websites that had taken/stolen images from Perfect10. (I got this from a different article than is linked above.)

I think Perfect10's point was that even if they shut down the offender, Google continues to display the thumbnail for quite a considerable period of time. But if that argument has traction it will sure open a whole can of worms.

whoisgregg




msg:1231719
 5:15 pm on Feb 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

The one part that mystified me was item #2. Google earns money from advertising, but not from advertising on image results. In fact, Google doesn't even display ads on pages of image results.

Agreed EFV. The linked article above does a poor job of describing what the judge said about Google's revenue from the thumbnailed images. From cnet [news.com.com]:

First, the search company apparently receives AdSense advertising revenue from some of the photo-pirating sites, and second, Google's image search has an option for mobile phones.

And, Amazon was also named -- not just Google.

I'm a fan of source material, so here's a link to Judge Matz's 48 page opinion (PDF) [i.i.com.com]

walkman




msg:1231720
 5:15 pm on Feb 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

>> That's a bad analogy, because 99.9999999999% of us wants google to crawl our website, and crawl it deep.
It would have been easier for Perfect10 to hire a webmaster instead of a lawyer.

I doubt that was even an issue, perfect10 simply didn't want google to index the pictures without their permission, and apparently the legal obligation is on google to make sure that sites want to be indexed.

>> The one part that mystified me was item #2. Google earns money from advertising, but not from advertising on image results. In fact, Google doesn't even display ads on pages of image results.

EFV,
an argument can be made that Google still profits by attracting people to the site. Example: I offer free mp3 files on mp3.domain.com, but sell shoes on domain.com, which would be interlinked and integrated. Many people come for the free mp3 files, but a certain percentage click and see what shoes I sell

Chico_Loco




msg:1231721
 5:22 pm on Feb 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

If I'm not mistaken, there has been a few cases now where people have brought litigation against search engines. claiming infringement of copyright.

Whether or not robots.txt is a method of preventing content from being seen to search engines - the fact remains that "expressed permission" must be sought to use copyrighted material.

Now, we as internet people (including myself) love Google because they give us traffic and provide us with a stream of revenue, it's a mutual benefit to us and search engines. However, in order to come to an unbias conclusion on this topic, you need to detach yourself from that fact.

Copyrighted material is, by definition, "copyrighted" ie. the rights to copy and redistribute are restricted and protected by law. No search engine (or anyone for that matter) should assume permission to copy and/or redistribute material simply because they have not been expressly forbidden from doing so ( la robots.txt).

Moreover, robots.txt is not an integral part of web publishing, it is a non-standard method developed to help control "robots", but it is by no means a legally binding practice, thus to assume a nullified copyright on material simply through its absense or misconfiguration is of gross negligence.

All of this being in my humble opinion of course!

Visi




msg:1231722
 5:26 pm on Feb 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

Issue here is not crawling or listing but caching. Have always had an issue with Google and others copying the page and offering for use. This to me is the tip of the iceberg on legal claims in this area. In no other area can the material be copied for profit and I think it is about time this issue is resolved.

Crawl and list all you want....don't just serve up a copy of the information. Talk all we want about disallowing it through tags or robots.txt....but the law also protects in this area.

mindspan




msg:1231723
 5:31 pm on Feb 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

I have a question related somewhat to this topic: My site contains MANY images that people find using Google image search. Then these people hotlink my images on forums (MySpace is particularly bad) all over the web with no attribution or link back to my site whatsoever. Worse, often they will use my image and then link to a competitors website. I have a ton of bandwidth wasted this way but am wondering if there is any advantage to having these images all over the place on the web in terms of page rank etc. i.e. Does Google take into account where content originates if there is no associated hyperlink back to the site?

For a while I was having fun changing the images that were being used to amusing taunts at he poster which included ads back to my site, but the sheer volume of these precludes my continuing in this vein.

carlr




msg:1231724
 5:44 pm on Feb 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

I am a protographer, Google shows tons of my pictures in Image Search, when people search for "MyCity fashion photographer" or "MyCity photographer". Of course this does not bring any money as I think many people look for free nude images or stuff to copy and use on their own website... This is 80% of my Google traffic... Totally useless to me. I give Google free stuff to entertain their users.

However, in the "real" SERPS, if you search for the same keyphrases, my website is almost nowhere to be seen. This is where the clients are. ANd you know what? I have to advertise with AdWords. (Adwords is 15% of my Google traffic). They dont give me free stuff... well I have 5% free Google traffic :-)

Is this fair? Bah. But I will block the image crawler stuff in my robots.txt. All image producers should do the same.

Kufu




msg:1231725
 6:23 pm on Feb 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

mindspan,

Depending on your control panel you can disable hot-linking. I believe that there is also a way to do this through other scripting, but I am not quite sure how (I know, very helpful...lol).

NoLimits




msg:1231726
 6:49 pm on Feb 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

Even if you disable hotlinking - Google will happily show a big red x in the would be images place... making the "cache" of your page look like absolute crap... reflecting poorly on Google, and you/me.

As far as my having the ability to put something in my robots.txt to prevent Google from stealing my content and images for their own personal gain - That would be like me saying it is okay for them to do it.

The damn tag is non-standard to boot. It's rediculous...

Just because you may make money from Google putting your images in their image search - does not mean that what they are doing is legal, and that you should defend it. Hell, I make some money off of it too - but it's still very wrong.

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