While publishers continue to battle Google over Google Library, it appears that an online porn outlet has won what could amount to a sizeable victory [Sorry, link no longer available] that might have further reaching implications.
The suite was filed against Google over their displaying of thumbnail images pulled from the Perfect 10 porn site. Presumably, the pictures displayed were behind the members only access, available only to those who subscribe to the service… and perform Google image searches.
It is believed that Google has cached thousands of images from this site alone, which become freely available to download, email or publish on other websites after an image search.
The fair use doctrine allows others to republish only a limited amount of copyright work. When a company is in the business of pictures, however it would appear that publishing even a limited number of photo’s does amount to copyright infringement.
I would agree with this assessment. While line of text, a paragraph or even full page of a book only represents a part of the greater whole, a photo is a whole unto itself. No more is needed to get the “artists” message.
Whether this will bleed over into the Book publishers lawsuit against Google remains to be seen, but it certainly make Google more vulnerable.