Copyright Infringement Liability, The Buck Stops… Uh, Over There.

Democracy in Media: Google: The Big Fat Target of Open Network Distribution Alex Rowland has an interesting post discussing where copyright liability starts and ends and references the recent case between Google and the producer for Perfect 10, an adult publisher who claims to have lost $35 million due to the fact that his images can be found through Google’s web searches.

Anyone who has spent much time with Google Image Search knows that there are tons of copyrighted images up there. Google of course argues that they are just a passive open distributer of unmanaged and largely unknown content and ought not to be liable for what comes through from their searches.

In the same way that an ISP can’t be held liable for it’s customers illegal file sharing, Google argues that they are just a pass through and infringement liabilty rests with the original violater.