February 24, 2006 12:00 PM PST

This week in Google

A federal judge ruled that portions of Google's popular image search feature, which displays small thumbnail versions of images found on other Web sites, likely violate U.S. copyright law.

The judge ruled that Perfect 10, an adult-oriented Web site featuring "beautiful natural women" in the nude, has shown that Google image search probably infringes copyright law "by creating and displaying thumbnail copies of its photographs."

Google said it plans to appeal the injunction, and predicted it will have no effect on the "vast majority" of its image searches. Perfect 10 sued Google for copyright infringement in November 2004, and then in August 2005, asked for an injunction to halt Google from allegedly copying, displaying and distributing more than 3,000 Perfect 10 photos.

However, the search giant may have more luck with its court fight with the feds. Some believe the U.S. Department of Justice's attempt to compel Google to divulge millions of search records could backfire on police and prosecutors.

If Google convinces California courts that a federal privacy law protects Internet users' search terms from a subpoena, it would become more difficult for law enforcement to seek such records in future criminal investigations, legal experts are saying.

That's "absolutely" a concern, said Paul Ohm, a former Justice Department prosecutor who now teaches at the University of Colorado at Boulder. "There's a lot of precedent for that kind of thing."

Google is also looking for a favorable ruling from the city of San Francisco. The search giant is teaming with EarthLink on a bid to offer free wireless Internet access throughout the city. Under the plan, Google would manage the free Wi-Fi service, which will run at 300 kilobits per second, while EarthLink would offer a 1-megabit-per-second service with customer support for $20 a month or less.

The Google-EarthLink bid was among six presented to the city. The other proposals were submitted by Communication Bridge Global, MetroFi, NextWLAN, Razortooth Communications (dba RedTAP) and SF Metro Connect (a joint venture of community-computing nonprofit SeaKay and Cisco Systems and IBM).

See more CNET content tagged:
image search, copyright law, EarthLink Inc., federal judge, Google Inc.

5 comments

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Why is wifi so expensive?
$20 per month? Why ? There are promo rates at cable at that. I can get verizon dsl Up to 3 Mbps/
768Kbps at $21.95 per month. $20 a month for broadband on my laptop in the park or at a coffee house is not worth it...

KM
Posted by kieranmullen (1070 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Not in the real world
That off-cited factotum is for an offer that is available in only a few
markets. If I remember correctly, it is also introductory. The cost
of moderate speed DSL is usually about $40 per month, sometimes
higher. Introductory rates for three to six months may be lower,
but the ISPs make up for that with higher prices the rest of the
contract.
Posted by J.G. (837 comments )
Link Flag
Why is wifi so expensive?
$20 per month? Why ? There are promo rates at cable at that. I can get verizon dsl Up to 3 Mbps/
768Kbps at $21.95 per month. $20 a month for broadband on my laptop in the park or at a coffee house is not worth it...

KM
Posted by kieranmullen (1070 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Not in the real world
That off-cited factotum is for an offer that is available in only a few
markets. If I remember correctly, it is also introductory. The cost
of moderate speed DSL is usually about $40 per month, sometimes
higher. Introductory rates for three to six months may be lower,
but the ISPs make up for that with higher prices the rest of the
contract.
Posted by J.G. (837 comments )
Link Flag
copy-rights have NEVER existed in the backwards United States as anything but a commercial controlling of monopolies that started with Noel Webster.
US Courts want to look at "sexy titty" thumbnails and were sure to eventually allow it.
Don't mess with GOOG or quickly be taught the power of the temptation that caused humanity to exist. I did with (5:09-cv-05151) and have lost thus far.
Posted by curtisneeley (19 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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