Chapter 6: Copyright Protection Against
Derivative-Work Versons of Computer
Programs and Web Pages —
Fair Use — Reverse Engineering
B. Hyperlinking and Framing (Cont'd)
The first decision to address framing in detail (together with linking) was Perfect 10 v. Google, which follows. The case involved the Google image search engine, which is similar to that of Arriba Soft, discussed above. The decision below is only on a motion for preliminary injunction; trial was still ahead; and both sides appealed the preliminary injunction decision that follows.
This litigation mainly concerns Google’s use of framing in its image search engine. The court attached to its opinion as Exhibit A an example of how Google’s image search framing works – what you see when you click on one of the thumbnails that are shown in an array after you do a word search on the image search engine. This is a broken link to what the court used as its Exhibit A. (As of late March 2006, the upper Google frame remains, with a thumbail image link. The thumbnail remains (subsequently blocked) but its link is broken. The lower Google frame is also inoperative.) The link broke in late March 2006, apparently as a result of the court’s opinion. The link is blocked, also, on the Wayback Machine of archive.org, because of robot.txt. Somebody doesn’t want you to see Exhibit A.
A reconstructed version of what was the original source for the court’s Exhibit A is shown at this link. After a little detective work, I found Exhibit A as it appeared at the end of the district court opinion, in black and white, by going to the district court's slip opinion.
The HTML code for this Google image search page, as it was in mid March 2006, is shown below (edited):
<title> Google Image Result for
en%26safe%3Doff%26sa%3DN&frame=small" scrolling=no marginwidth=0 marginheight=0>
This code causes a display with two rows and a single column. The lower row was a frame containing a full size image of plaintiff’s Vibe Sorenson No. 006, as it appeared on plaintiff’s Web page (www.3thehardway.nl/.../vibe_sorenson006.html). The upper row was a frame containing a thumbnail of the image shown in the lower frame. The thumbnail image was part of a link, so that when you clicked on it the browser jumped via a deep link to the full size image on plaintiff’s Web page.
The thumbnail itself could have been viewed by right clicking on the thumbnail in the upper frame and viewing image only. The thumbnail (still stored on Google’s site in April 2006) (now gone) is here. Plaintiff claimed that this image is an infringing reproduction of the copyright-protected image that was located in the lower frame, and that its reproduction on the Google image site diverted business from Perfect 10’s cell phone image business.
Since these links are now broken, click on this link to go back to chapter 6B for a much less (alas!) titillating (but operative) illustration of how the frames and links of Google’s image search engine work.
PERFECT 10 v. GOOGLE, INC.
United States District Court, Central District of California
416 F. Supp. 2d 828 (C.D. Cal. 2006)
A. Howard Matz, U.S.D.J.
The principal two-part issue in this case arises out of the increasingly recurring conflict between intellectual property rights on the one hand and the dazzling capacity of internet technology to assemble, organize, store, access, and display intellectual property content on the other hand. That issue, in a nutshell, is: does a search engine infringe copyrighted images when it displays them on an image search function in the form of thumbnails but not infringe when, through in-line linking, it displays copyrighted images served by another website?
Plaintiff Perfect 10, Inc. (P10) filed suit against Google, Inc. P10 moves now for a preliminary injunction, solely on the basis of its copyright claims. P10 seeks to prevent Defendants image search engines from displaying thumbnail copies of P10s copyrighted images and also from linking to third-party websites which host and serve infringing full-size images. The Court now concludes that Googles creation and public display of thumbnails likely do directly infringe P10s copyrights. The Court also concludes, however, that P10 is not likely to succeed on its vicarious and contributory liability theories.
A. The Parties
P10 publishes the adult magazine PERFECT 10 and operates the subscription website, perfect10.com, both of which feature high-quality, nude photographs of natural models. During the last nine years, P10 has invested $36 million to develop its brand in its magazine and its website. This investment includes approximately $12 million spent to photograph over 800 models and create 2,700 high quality images that have appeared in its magazine, along with an additional approximately 3,300 images that have appeared on perfect10.com. P10 has obtained registered copyrights for its photographs from the United States Copyright Office.
1. Perfect 10
P10 generates virtually all of its revenue from the sale of copyrighted works: (1) it sells magazines at newsstands ($7.99 per issue) and via subscription; (2) it sells website subscriptions to perfect10.com for $25.50 per month, which allow subscribers to view P10 images in the exclusive members area of the site3; and (3) since early 2005, when P10 entered into a licensing agreement with Fonestarz Media Limited, for the worldwide sale and distribution of P10 reduced-size copyrighted images for download and use on cell phones, it has sold, on average, approximately 6,000 images per month in the United Kingdom. Aside from the licensing agreement with Fonestarz P10 has not authorized any third-party individual or website to copy, display, or distribute any of the copyrighted images which P10 has created.
Google describes itself as a software, technology, Internet, advertising, and media company all rolled into one. Google is one of the most highly frequented websites on the internet (it ranks as the third most visited site in the world). Google operates a search engine located at the domain name google.com. Googles search engine indexes websites on the Internet via a web crawler, i.e., software that automatically scans and stores the content of each website into an easily-searchable catalog. Websites that do not wish to be indexed, or that wish to have only certain content indexed, can do so by signaling to Googles web crawler those parts that are off limits. Googles web crawler honors those signals.
Google operates different search engines for various types of web content. All search queries are text-based, i.e., users input text search strings representing their query, but results can be in the form of text, images, or even video. Thus, for example, Googles basic web search, called Google Web Search, located at http://www.google.com/, receives a text search string and returns a list of textual results relevant to that query. Google Image search, on the other hand, receives a text search string and returns a number of reduced-sized, or thumbnail images organized into a grid.4
4 Athumbnail is a lower-resolution (and hence, smaller) version of a full-size image. Thumbnails enable users to quickly process and locate visual information. For example, users of Google Image Search are presented with a set of thumbnails that are potentially responsive to their search queries. Because thumbnails are smaller in size, more of them can be displayed at the same time on a single page or screen. Users can quickly scan the entire set of thumbnails to locate the particular full-size image for which they were looking.
P10 repeatedly objects that the term thumbnail is a misnomer, even going so far as to point out that the thumbnails displayed by Google can be up to eight times the size of a persons actual thumbnail. Thumbnail, it argues, conveys the false impression that smaller, lower-resolution images are not useful in and of themselves or that they are less useful than their full-size counterparts. The term thumbnail, however, has become the standard way of referring to the smaller, lower-resolution images central to this suit. In any event, the Court recognizes that thumbnails have been used for purposes independent of their primary function, as is discussed later. See, e.g., Kelly v. Arriba Soft Corp., 336 F.3d 811, 815 (9th Cir. 2003).
Google stores content scanned by its web crawler in Googles cache. For Google Web Search, because its web page index is based entirely on the textual part of web pages and not the images, [its] web page cache contains only the text pages, and not the images that those pages include when displayed. For Google Image Search, too, the results depend solely on the text surrounding an image.5
5 Google Image Search does not have the ability to accept an image as a search query and return similar images. Only text-based search queries can be input. Google Image Search returns those images on the internet whose surrounding text was deemed responsive to the users textual search string.
But for Image Search, Google also stores thumbnails in its cache, in order to present the results of the users query. (The browser obtains thumbnail images from Googles server. Google admits that its servers store reduced-size extracts of images.) A user of Google Image Search can quickly scan the grid of returned thumbnails to determine whether any of the images responds to his search query. He can then choose to click on the image thumbnail and show more information about the image and cause the users browser ... to open a window on the screen that will display URL associated with that image. The Google frame also states that the thumbnail may be scaled down and subject to copyright and makes clear that the upper frame is not the original context in which the full-size image was found, stating, Below is the image in its original context on the page: http://<URL>. The lower frame contains, or shows, the original web page on which the original image was found. Google neither stores nor serves any of the content (either text or images) displayed in the lower frame; rather, the underlying third party website stores and serves that content. However, because it is Googles webpage that composites the two frames, the URL displayed in the browsers address bar displays images.google.com.
Attached hereto as Exhibit A [see LINK TO EXH. A] is an example of the two-frame structure just described, containing in the upper frame one of the thumbnail images that appeared on the display of thumbnails retrieved by an image search for Vibe Sorenson, a P10 model. Google generates much of its revenue through two advertising programs: AdWords, for advertisers, and AdSense, for web publishers. Through AdWords, advertisers purchase advertising placement on Googles pages, including on search results pages and Googles Gmail web-based email service. Googles AdSense program allows pages on third party sites to carry Google-sponsored advertising and share [with Google the] revenue that flows from the advertising displays and click-throughs. To participate [in AdSense], a website publisher places code on its site that asks Googles server to algorithmically select relevant advertisements based on the content of that site.
Google generates much of its revenue through two advertising programs: AdWords, for advertisers, and AdSense, for web publishers. Through AdWords, advertisers purchase advertising placement on Googles pages, including on search results pages and Googles Gmail web-based email service. Googles AdSense program allows pages on third party sites to carry Google-sponsored advertising and share [with Google the] revenue that flows from the advertising displays and click-throughs. To participate [in AdSense], a website publisher places code on its site that asks Googles server to algorithmically select relevant advertisements based on the content of that site.7
7 To illustrate how AdSense works, an individual who maintains a website dedicated to soccer SoccerMANIA.com, say might post his personal commentary about recent games, along with player profiles and a short history of soccer. What he is not likely to do perhaps because it is time-consuming or outside his area of expertise, or simply because he does not choose to is find advertisers who are willing to pay to place advertisements on his site. This is where Google AdSense comes in. After registering to become an AdSense partner, the soccer aficionado can demarcate an area on his website that acts as a placeholder for an advertisement. Google will then scan the text of his website and populate or fill the placeholder with advertisements it deems relevant to the content on that site. Googles AdSense software will notice that the word soccer and other soccer-related terms appear frequently on the site, and thus will show advertisements directed at people interested in soccer e.g., sites that sell tickets to World Cup games.
B. Procedural History
On November 19, 2004, P10 filed suit against Google asserting various copyright and trademark infringement claims: (1) direct copyright infringement, (2) vicarious copyright infringement, (3) contributory copyright infringement, (4) circumvention of copyright protection systems under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), (5) direct trademark infringement * * *
C. Proposed Injunctive Relief
P10 seeks to preliminarily enjoin Google from engaging in the following activities:
(a) Copying, reproducing, distributing, publicly displaying, adapting or otherwise infringing, or contributing to the infringement of any copyrighted image owned by Perfect 10 which has been or will be identified in notices to Google, as described below (PERFECT 10 COPYRIGHTED IMAGES). Perfect 10 will provide to Google notice of PERFECT 10 COPYRIGHTED IMAGES within ten (10) business days of the issuance of this Order, and may supplement that notice once each month. Within ten (10) business days of the receipt of notice of PERFECT 10 COPYRIGHTED IMAGES (including additional images as provided herein), Google shall delete and disable its display of all such images, including without limitation, deletion from any database owned or controlled by Google, and shall not display such images in the future.
(b) Linking to websites which display or make available PERFECT 10 COPYRIGHTED IMAGES for which Google has received notice as described below (Infringing Websites). Infringing Websites are (i) websites which were linked to by Google as identified in any notice of infringement from Perfect 10 to Google or (ii) websites that in the future continue to display or make available PERFECT 10 COPYRIGHTED IMAGES on any of their web pages three (3) weeks after notice of such infringement to Google. Within ten (10) business days of the receipt of each notice of Infringing Websites, Google shall delete and disable all links to such Infringing Websites from any website owned or controlled by Google and shall not link to such Infringing Websites in the future.
* * *
(d) Notice under paragraphs (a) and (b) above may be provided by service on counsel of record for Google in any manner provided by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure of copies of PERFECT 10 COPYRIGHTED IMAGES and/or listings of the URLs of the homepages of Infringing Websites. Such notice may be by computer disk or other means calculated to provide reasonable notice.
* * *
Google does not contest that photographs are copyrightable subject matter or that P10s certificates of copyright registration have sufficiently established its ownership. Google does, however, dispute P10s contention that its copyright interests have been directly infringed. Although Google admits creating and storing thumbnail copies of P10s full-size images (found on third-party websites), as well as displaying those thumbnails as search results on Google Image Search, it argues that such use is protected under the fair use doctrine, as codified by 17 U.S.C. § 107.
2. Affirmative Defenses
The plaintiffs burden of showing a likelihood of success on the merits includes the burden of showing a likelihood that it would prevail against any affirmative defenses raised by the defendant. Even though fair use is an affirmative defense plaintiffs, as the parties moving for a preliminary injunction, have the burden of proving a likelihood of success on their infringement claim, including the fair use defense. P10 points out that the Ninth Circuit, in affirming the district courts ruling in Dr. Seuss , stated that because fair use is an affirmative defense, [defendant] must bring forward favorable evidence relevant to the fourth fair use factor. That the Ninth Circuit required the defendants to submit some quantum of evidence does not mean, however, that it had placed the burden on defendant to show that it was entitled to the affirmative defense of fair use. Accordingly, the Court will follow Dr. Seusss conclusion that P10, on its motion for preliminary injunction against Google, carries the burden of overcoming Googles fair use defense.
3. Prohibitory v. Mandatory Injunction
Google tries to characterize the relief P10 seeks as mandatory and points out that mandatory preliminary relief is subject to heightened scrutiny and should not be issued unless the facts and law clearly favor the moving party. P10 contends, however, that an injunction that requires a defendant to refrain from performing present and continuing acts causing injury is prohibitory, not mandatory. The distinction between mandatory and prohibitory injunctions is not without ambiguities. [M]any prohibitory injunctions can easily be restated in a manner that makes them appear mandatory in effect. The Court agrees with P10. The proposed injunction would be essentially prohibitory in nature, because it would require Google to cease its allegedly infringing activities. Whatever active steps Google might have to undertake would merely be the means of discontinuing acts of infringement.
B. Likelihood of Success
P10 asserts that Google is both directly and secondarily liable for copyright infringement. P10 alleges that Googles image search engine directly infringes by copying, distributing, and displaying thumbnails and full-size images of P10s copyrighted photographs. P10 alleges that Google is secondarily liable for the actions of third-party websites that host infringing images and unauthorized perfect10.com username/password combinations to which Googles search engine links, as well for the actions of individuals who are led by Google Image Search to infringing images and subsequently download infringing copies themselves.
Google raises several defenses. First, in response to P10s direct infringement claims, it argues that (1) many of its actions do not infringe upon any of the exclusive rights granted to the owner of a copyright, and (2) to the extent that its actions do implicate those rights, such use is fair under 17 U.S.C. § 107. Second, in response to P10s secondary liability claims, Google contends that (1) it has not contributorily or vicariously infringed; (2) it is immune from contributory liability under Sony; and (3) it qualifies for protection under the various safe harbor provisions of the DMCA, 17 U.S.C. § 512(a)-(d).
1. Direct Infringement
To establish direct copyright infringement, a plaintiff must prove two elements: (1) ownership of a valid copyright, and (2) violation of one of the exclusive rights granted under copyright. Feist .
a. What Actions by Google Allegedly Constitute Direct Infringement?
Although 17 U.S.C. § 106 sets forth six exclusive rights of a copyright holder, the rights in question here are the right to display publicly, the distribution right, and the reproduction right. P10 alleges that Google directly infringes in that it both (1) displays and distributes full-size images hosted by third-party websites, and (2) creates, displays, and distributes thumbnails of P10s copyrighted full-size images.9
9 P10 also argues that Googles web (text-based) search function directly infringes P10s intellectual property by linking to websites that display the username/password combinations that subscribers to perfect10.com have obtained in order to gain access to the members only area of the site. The Court rejects this argument. P10 has not demonstrated that it has any copyright interest in the two strings of characters that other individuals select when registering as members on perfect10.com. Furthermore, as explained more fully below, Google does not risk liability for direct infringement merely by linking to content hosted on and served by third-party websites.
P10 contends that these displays and distributions of copyrighted material extend to cell phones as well as computers. Google concedes that it creates and displays thumbnails; it denies that it displays, creates, or distributes what is depicted in the lower frame; and it challenges P10s argument that any of its activities can be the basis for direct infringement.
The Court will address P10s contentions about framed, full-size images first.
b. As to In-Line Linking, What Constitutes a Display?
There is no dispute that Google in-line links to and/or frames content that, in fact, is stored on and served by other websites. Whether that conduct constitutes a display for purposes of copyright law is the issue.
The terms link and in-line link can be used in two distinct, but related, ways. Link is most commonly used to refer to text or image hyperlinks that are displayed on a webpage and that when clicked by the user, transport him to a new page. In-line link refers to the process whereby a webpage can incorporate by reference (and arguably cause to be displayed) content stored on another website. Kelly v. Arriba Soft Corp., 336 F.3d 811, 816 (9th Cir. 2003) [hereinafter Kelly II] (The in-line link instructs the users browser to retrieve the linked-to image from the source website and display it on the users screen, but does so without leaving the linking document.).
There are at least two approaches to defining display in the context of in-line linking: what the Court will call (1) a server test and (2) an incorporation test. The differences in the server and incorporation tests can be illustrated if we return to the example of SoccerMANIA.com. See supra note 7. That fictitious website might contain a single webpage with the text, We proudly show this photo, below which appears a photo of the legendary soccer great Pelé that he (Pelé) copyrighted. The mere fact that the Pelé photo appears on SoccerMANIAs webpage does not necessarily mean that the photo (or even a copy of it) is stored on or transferred via SoccerMANIA.com. Using standard HTML, SoccerMANIA.coms webpage might, in fact, be in-line linking to the Pelé photo stored on, say, SoccerPASSION.com. If that is the case, when the person seeking to visit SoccerMANIA.coms webpage uses his browser, the browser would (1) download SoccerMANIA.coms webpage, (2) parse through the various HTML commands of that webpage, (3) per HTML code, display the text We proudly show this photo, (4) also per HTML code, follow an in-line link to the image stored on SoccerPASSION.com, (5) download the photo to the users computer directly from SoccerPASSION.com, and (6) display the image in the browser below the text. Because the visitor cannot see any of these actions take place, he probably but mistakenly will assume that the copyrighted photo of Pelé is stored on and served b SoccerMANIA.com. Indeed, even though the image was actually transferred directly from SoccerPASSION.com, the address shown on the users browser will still indicate something akin to http://www.SoccerMANIA.com/webpage.html. This is because browsers display the address of the file (here, a webpage) that they are currently rendering; they do not in any way indicate the location from which each component element of a webpage (such as an image) originates.
The question, then, is whether SoccerMANIA.com, SoccerPASSION.com, or both have displayed the copyrighted Pelé photo.
i. The Server Test Embraced by Google
From a technological perspective, one could define display as the act of serving content over the web i.e., physically sending ones and zeroes over the Internet to the users browser. Adopting this definition, as Google urges the Court to do, SoccerPASSION.com would be the entity that displays the Pelé image, and SoccerMANIA.com would not risk liability for direct infringement (regardless of whether its in-line linking would otherwise qualify as fair use).
ii. The Incorporation Test Embraced by P10
From a purely visual perspective, one could define display as the mere act of incorporating content into a webpage that is then pulled up by the browser e.g., the act by SoccerMANIA.com of using an in-line link in its webpage to direct the users browser to retrieve the Pelé image from SoccerPASSION.coms server each time he navigates to SoccerMANIA.com. P10 urges the Court to adopt this definition. Under it, SoccerMANIA.com, as the host of its own webpage which incorporates the Pelé photo from SoccerPASSION.com, would be the entity that displays that image.
As opposite ends of a spectrum, the server and incorporation tests both are susceptible to extreme or dubious results. Under the server test, someone could create a website entitled Infringing Content For All! with thousands of in-line links to images on other websites that serve infringing content. That website, however, would be immune from claims of direct infringement because it does not actually serve the images. On the other hand, under the incorporation test, any website that in-line links to or frames third-party content would risk liability for direct infringement (putting aside the availability of an affirmative defense) even if that website discloses the identity of the actual server of the image. Thus, SoccerMANIA.com would expose itself to suit for direct infringement even if the text of its webpage had stated:
ATTENTION FBI: We did not take the picture, and it is not served by SoccerMANIA.com. It is probably subject to copyright. We maintain this site to help authorities identify potentially infringing images on the web. The image of Pelé is stored on and served by SoccerPASSION.com. Please investigate.
To adopt the incorporation test would cause a tremendous chilling effect on the core functionality of the web its capacity to link, a vital feature of the internet that makes it accessible, creative, and valuable.
iii. Existing Precedents
Only a few courts have addressed the question of whether hyperlinking constitutes displaying that infringes a copyright holders exclusive right to display his work. Fewer have considered in-line linking or framing. P10 cites Playboy Enters., Inc. v. Webbworld, Inc., 991 F. Supp. 543 (N.D. Tex. 1997). There, Defendant Webbworld, an adult website, received a news feed of nude photos from adult internet newsgroups, downloaded them to its computers, and then uploaded them to its own publicly accessible webservers. The photos included Playboys copyrighted images. Webbworld then charged Internet users a monthly subscription fee to view the images on its website. The district court concluded that Webbworld displayed Playboys photos because it caused them to be shown on users computers and because [t]he image existed in digital form on Webbworlds servers. Here, it is undisputed that Google does not store or serve any full-size images. Similarly, in Playboy Enters., Inc. v. Russ Hardenburgh, Inc., 982 F. Supp. 503 (N.D. Ohio 1997), also cited by P10, Defendant Rusty-N-Edies, Inc. (RNE) operated an electronic bulletin board through its own computers onto which paying subscribers could upload various files and then receive access to, and the right to download, all the files that other subscribers had uploaded. When users downloaded files from the bulletin board, those files were transferred to the users computer directly from RNEs computers (not from the original uploaders computer). The court concluded that RNE had publicly displayed and distributed the files posted on the bulletin board. The court relied, in part, on the fact that after reviewing the files in the upload queue, RNE moved them to its own servers that were available to other subscribers. Unlike RNE, however, Google does not store or serve any full-size images on Google Image Search. In Perfect 10, Inc. v. Cybernet Ventures, Inc.,167 F. Supp.2d 1114 (C.D. Cal. 2001), Defendant Cybernet Ventures, Inc. (Cybernet) ran a website called adultcheck.com which functioned as a gateway to other adult web sites. Paying subscribers would receive access to the content on any of the related sites within the Adult Check family. As it does here, Perfect 10 argued that Cybernet directly infringed its copyrighted images. The court denied summary judgment for Cybernet because it lacked sufficient information regarding how Cybernets systems interacted with those of its partners, noting Cybernet may have [had] a direct role in the infringement. Id. at 1122. The court did not discuss whether Cybernet had stored or served any of the infringing content. But in a later decision on a motion for preliminary injunction, the same court expressed doubt that liability for direct infringement could be found because Cybernet did not store or serve the infringing content:
Based on the evidence before the Court it appears that Cybernet does not use its hardware to either store the infringing images or move them from one location to another for display . This technical separation between its facilities and those of its webmasters prevents Cybernet from engaging in reproduction or distribution, and makes it doubtful that Cybernet publicly displays the works The Court therefore concludes that there is little likelihood that Perfect 10 will succeed on its direct infringement theory.
Perfect 10, Inc. v. Cybernet Ventures, Inc., 213 F. Supp. 2d 1146, 1168-69 (C.D. Cal. 2002) (emphasis added).
In its now-withdrawn opinion in Kelly v. Arriba Soft Corp., 280 F.3d 934 (9th Cir. 2002) [hereinafter, Kelly I ], amended by Kelly II, 336 F.3d 811 (9th Cir. 2003), the Ninth Circuit discussed liability for direct infringement resulting from in-line linking, without addressing how the technology functionedi.e., who stored and served the infringing content. Defendant Arriba operated an image search engine much like Googlesit in-line linked to and framed, but did not store or serve, fullsize copies of Kellys photographs. Stating that [n]o cases have addressed the issue of whether inline linking or framing violates a copyright owners public display lights, the Ninth Circuit nevertheless analogized to Webbworld and Hardenburgh, ignored the fact that the defendants in those two cases actually hosted and served the infringing content, and concluded that Arriba had directly infringed Kellys exclusive right to display:
Like the defendants in Webbworld and Hardenburgh, Arriba is directly liable for infringement. Arriba actively participated in displaying Kellys images by having its program inline link and frame those images within its own web site. Without this program, users would not have been able to view Kellys images within the context of Arribas site. Arriba acted as more than a passive conduit of the images by establishing a direct link to the copyrighted images. Therefore, Arriba is liable for publicly displaying Kellys copyrighted images without his permission.
The decision in Kelly I was roundly criticized:
If [the] logic [of the original opinion in Kelly] is valid, it should ensnare AOL, Dell, Microsoft, and Netscape as well. Indeed, it condemns those other actors a fortiori: the user of those products can see Kellys entire web site displayed, whereas Arriba only offers a portion of Kellys material, framed by its own proprietary content. Accordingly, Arribas usurpation of Kellys display right is even less than the others. [4 Nimmer on Copyright § 12B.01[A] (2005).]
Some seventeen months later, perhaps reflect[ing] sub silentio that the panel no longer believed in the substance of its much-criticized conclusion, the Ninth Circuit withdrew the portion of the Kelly I opinion dealing with direct infringement on procedural grounds. Kelly II([W]e conclude that the district court should not have reached the issue [of whether Arribas framing of full-size images constitutes direct infringement] because neither party moved for summary judgment as to the full-size images ... ).
Kelly I dealt with an image stored on and served by a third-party website and incorporated into a defendant search engines website via in-line linking and framing. Kelly II declined to address whether that conduct constituted direct infringement. Its description of how Arriba functioned is nevertheless useful:
In-line linking allows one to import a graphic from a source website and incorporate it in ones own website, creating the appearance that the in-lined graphic is a seamless part of the second web page. The in-line link instructs the users browser to retrieve the linked-to image from the source website and display it on the users screen, but does so without leaving the linking document. Thus, the linking party can incorporate the linked image into its own content. As a result, although the [full-size] image in Arribas page came directly from the originating web site and was not copied onto Arribas server, the user would not realize that the image actually resided on another web site.
Kelly II . Although such conduct is potentially actionable under secondary liability theories, in terms of direct infringement, Kelly II provides no guidance; the Ninth Circuit just has not settled the question of whether the in-line linking to and framing of content hosted by third-party websites constitutes a display.
Certain other decisions, some unpublished, do deal with traditional hyperlinking i.e., rather than incorporating third-party content via in-line linking or framing, websites create hyperlinks that transport the user directly to the linked-to, infringing page. Each of these cases holds that such linking does not implicate any of the exclusive rights under copyright. Ticketmaster Corp. v. Tickets.com, Inc. , No. CV 99-7654, 2000 WL 525390, at *2 (C.D. Cal. Mar. 27, 2000) (unpublished) ([H]yperlinking does not itself involve a [direct] violation of the Copyright Act (whatever it may do for other claims) since no copying is involved.); Online Policy Group v. Diebold, Inc., 337 F. Supp. 2d 1195, 1202 n.12 (N.D. Cal. 2004) ([H]yperlinking per se does not constitute direct copyright infringement because there is no copying, [although] in some instances there may be a tenable claim of contributory infringement or vicarious liability.); Bernstein v. JC Penney, Inc., No. 98-2958, 1998 WL 906644, at *1 (C.D. Cal. Sept. 29, 1998) (unpublished) (granting, without discussion, defendants motion to dismiss on the ground that hyperlinking cannot constitute direct infringement); Arista Records, Inc. v. MP3Board, Inc., No. 00 CIV. 4660, 2002 WL 1997918, at *4 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 29, 2002) (unreported) (linking to content does not implicate distribution right and thus, does not give rise to liability for direct copyright infringement). These cases, however, are distinguishable because in none of them did defendant actually display anything (or, in the case of Arista Records, distribute anything). In contrast, Googles in-line linking [because it is coupled with framing] causes the appearance of copyrighted content on Googles webpage, even though that content may have been stored on and served by third-party websites.
iv. Display for Purposes of Full Size Images
The Court concludes that in determining whether Googles lower frames are a display of infringing material, the most appropriate test is also the most straightforward: the website on which content is stored and by which it is served directly to a user, not the website that in-line links to it, is the website that displays the content. Thus, the Court adopts the server test, for several reasons.
First, this test is based on what happens at the technological-level as users browse the web, and thus reflects the reality of how content actually travels over the internet before it is shown on users computers. Persons who view the full-size image in its original context (i.e., the lower frame) after clicking on one of the thumbnails that Google Image Search aggregated, are not viewing images that Google has stored or served. Rather, their computers have engaged in a direct connection with third-party websites, which are themselves responsible for transferring content.
Second, adoption of the server test neither invites copyright infringing activity by a search engine such as Google nor flatly precludes liability for such activity. This test will merely preclude search engines from being held directly liable for inline linking and/or framing infringing content stored on third-party websites. Copyright owners may still seek, as P10 does, to impose contributory or vicarious liability on websites for the inclusion of such content. Such secondary liability will require analysis of the different set of factors discussed in Section III.B.3 of this Order.
Third, website operators can readily understand the server test and courts can apply it relatively easily. To be sure, the incorporation test, which would have courts look at the URL displayed in the browsers address bar, also can be applied relatively easily. But that test fails to acknowledge the interconnected nature of the web, both in its physical and logical connections and in its ability to aggregate and present content from multiple sources simultaneously.
Fourth, here the initial direct infringers are the websites that stole P10s fullsize images and posted them on the internet for all the world to see. P10 would not have filed suit but for their actions.
Finally, the server test maintains, however uneasily, the delicate balance for which copyright law strives i.e., between encouraging the creation of creative works and encouraging the dissemination of information. Merely to index the web so that users can more readily find the information they seek should not constitute direct infringement, but to host and serve infringing content may directly violate the rights of copyright holders.
Applying the server test, the Court concludes that for the purposes of direct copyright infringement, Googles use of frames and in-line links does not constitute a display of the full-size images stored on and served by infringing third-party websites. Thus, P10s claim of direct infringement with respect to these actions will likely fail.
c. Display for Purposes of Thumbnails
Applying the server test to Googles use of thumbnails the Court finds that Google does display thumbnails of P10s copyrighted images. Google acknowledges that it creates and stores those thumbnails on its own serversand that upon receiving search queries, it responds by displaying a grid of those thumbnails.
d. What Constitutes a Public Distribution?
The foregoing considerations also inform whether Google directly infringes P10s distribution right. With respect to P10s full-size images, Google does not. A distribution of a copyrighted work requires an actual dissemination of copies. See In re Napster, Inc. Copyright Litigation , 377 F. Supp. 2d 796, 802-804 (N.D. Cal. 2005) (finding that Napster had not distributed songs in light of the fact that the infringing works never resided on the Napster system, and therefore Napster could not have transferred copyrighted content to its users). In the Internet context, an actual dissemination means the transfer of a file from one computer to another. Although Google frames and in-line links to third-party infringing websites, it is those websites, not Google, that transfer the full-size images to users computers. Because Google is not involved in the transfer, Google has not actually disseminatedand hence, and has not distributedthe infringing content. See Napster . Accordingly, the Court concludes that by merely framing and in-line linking to third-party websites, Google has not distributed infringing copies of P10s copyrighted full-size photographs.11
11 P10 also argues that Google distributes the thumbnails. Although Google does transfer thumbnails to users computers though local browser caching, this automatic distribution likely constitutes fair use. See note 17 infra. In any event, because the Court concludes that Googles creation and display of thumbnails directly infringes P10s copyrights, the question of whether Google also distributes those thumbnails is moot.
2. Fair Use
Having found that the thumbnails directly infringe P10s copyrights, the Court turns to Googles affirmative defense of fair use. Google argues that its creation and display of thumbnails is fair under 17 U.S.C. § 107. From the infancy of copyright protection, some opportunity for fair use of copyrighted materials has been thought necessary to fulfill copyrights very purpose, [t]o promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts .... Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc., 510 U.S. 569, 575 (1994). This notion was codified in 17 U.S.C. § 107:
[T]he fair use of a copyrighted work . . . for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching[,] scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include
(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;
(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
Although often discussed within the context of the first factor, the public interest is also a factor that continually informs the fair use analysis. See Sega Enters. Ltd. v. Accolade, Inc., 977 F.2d 1510, 1523 (9th Cir. 1992) ([W]e are free to consider the public benefit resulting from a particular use). Courts are to consider these factors in light of the objectives of copyright law, rather than view them as definitive or determinative tests. Kelly II, 336 F.3d at 818.
a. Purpose and Character of Use
The preamble to Section 107 enumerates certain purposes that are most appropriate for a finding of fair use: criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship or research. The central purpose of [the first fair use factor] is to see whether the new work merely supersedes the objects of the original creation, or instead adds something new, with a further purpose or different character, altering the first with new expression, meaning, or message; it asks, in other words, whether and to what extent the new work is transformative. Campbell, 510 U.S. at 579. Although the Supreme Court has stated that every commercial use of copyrighted material is presumptively an unfair exploitation of the monopoly privilege that belongs to the owner of the copyright, Sony, 464 U.S. at 451, this pronouncement does not preclude a finding that a defendants commercial use may nevertheless be fair. Kelly II, 336 F.3d at 818 (citing Campbell, 510 U.S. at 579). Furthermore, [t]he more transformative the new work, the less important the other factors, including commercialism, become. Id.
i. Commercial Versus Noncommercial Use
In assessing whether a use is commercial, the focus here is not on the individuals who use Google Image Search to locate P10s adult images. Nor is it on whether their subsequent use of the images is noncommercial (e.g., titillation) or commercial (e.g., to print and sell). Rather, it is Googles use that the Court is to consider. That use, P10 contends, is commercial in nature. The Court agrees.
Courts have defined commercial uses extremely broadly. Google unquestionably derives significant commercial benefit from Google Image Search in the form of increased user traffic and, in turn, increased advertising revenue. The more people who view its pages and rely on its search capabilities, the more influence Google wields in the search engine market and (more broadly) in the web portal market. In turn, Google can attract more advertisers to its AdSense and AdWords programs.
That Googles use of thumbnails is commercial, however, does not necessarily weigh heavily in favor of P10. In Kelly II, supra, the Ninth Circuit acknowledged that Arribas use was commercial, yet concluded that that fact weigh[ed] only slightly against a finding of fair use because Arriba was neither using Kellys images to directly promote its web site nor trying to profit by selling Kellys images. Kelly II, 336 F.3d at 818. The court found that the creation and use of thumbnails to display Arribas image search results were more incidental and less exploitative in nature than more traditional types of commercial use. Id.
Google Image Search automatically scours the internet via its web crawler software to find and catalog images. For each image, Google records information about it and creates a thumbnail copy. The thumbnail is then stored in Googles cache for later display when users perform an image search. When an image search is performed, Google displays a grid of thumbnails that Google has algorithmically determined are responsive to the search string based on the text of the originating webpage surrounding the image. When a user clicks on one of the thumbnails, he is taken to the two-frame page discussed above. In these respects, Google functions like Arribas search engine.
But unlike Arriba, Google offers and derives commercial benefit from its AdSense program. AdSense allows third party websites to carry Google-sponsored advertising and share revenue that flows from the advertising displays and clickthroughs. If third-party websites that contain infringing copies of P10 photographs are also AdSense partners, Google will serve advertisements on those sites and split the revenue generated from users who click on the Google-served advertisements. Google counters that its AdSense Program Policies prohibit a website from registering as an AdSense partner if the sites webpages contain images that appear in Google Image Search results: In order to avoid associations with copyright claims, website publishers may not display Google ads on web pages with . . . Image Results. However, Google has not presented any information regarding the extent to which this purported policy is enforced. Nor has it provided examples of AdSense partners who were terminated because of violations of this policy. In contrast, P10 has submitted numerous screenshots of third-party websites that serve infringing content and also appear to be receiving and displaying AdSense ads from Google.
AdSense unquestionably makes Googles use of thumbnails on its image search far more commercial than Arribas use in Kelly II. Googles thumbnails lead users to sites that directly benefit Googles bottom line. Google has a strong incentive to link to as many third-party websites as possibleincluding those that host AdSense advertisements.
ii. Transformative Versus Consumptive Use
That a use is commercial does not preclude a defendant from tipping the balance back to a finding of fair use by showing that its use is transformative, as opposed to consumptive. A consumptive use is one in which defendants use of the images merely supersede[s] the object of the originals . . . instead [of] add[ing] a further purpose or different character. Kelly II, 336 F.3d at 818. Whether a use is transformative depends in part on whether it serves the public interest. See Religious Tech. Ctr. v. Netcom On-Line Communication Servs., 907 F. Supp. 1361, 1379 (N.D. Cal. 1995) (Netcoms use, though commercial, also benefits the public in allowing for the functioning of the Internet and the dissemination of other creative works, a goal of the Copyright Act.); Sega Enters., 977 F.2d at 1522-23 (intermediate copying to reverse engineer software is fair use despite commercial nature of activity in light of public benefit).
P10 argues that Googles use of thumbnails is consumptive rather than transformative since Google provides the exact same images through the exact same medium . . . as does Perfect 10. Whether thumbnails are identical copies of their full-size counterparts is debatable. A thumbnail contains significantly less pixel data (and hence, less image detail) than does the full-size image.13 The more complex or nuanced the original full-size image, the less exact is the replicated viewing experience i.e., at some point viewers can no longer discern many of the fine details that were once visible in the full-size image. On the other hand, thumbnails are not cropped in any way, and if few or no important details have been lost, they do convey the full expression they achieve pretty much the same effect as the original full-size images. Merely because Googles thumbnails are not cropped does not necessarily make them exact copies of P10s images, but the record currently before the Court does suggest that the thumbnails here closely approximate a key function of P10s full-size originals, at least to the extent that viewers of P10s photos of nude women pay little attention to fine details.
13 For example, a typical full-size image might be 1024 pixels wide by 768 pixels high, for a total of 786,432 pixels worth of data. A typical thumbnail might be 150 pixels wide by 112 pixels high, for a total of only 16,800 pixels. This represents an information loss of 97.9% between the full-size image and the thumbnail.
Googles use of thumbnails does not supersede P10s use of full-size images. In the final analysis, P10s use is to provide entertainment, both in magazines and on the internet. For some viewers, P10s use of the photos creates or allows for an aesthetic experience. Google, in contrast, does not profit from providing adult content, but from locating, managing, and making information generally more accessible, and therefore more attractive to advertisers. Google is focused almost exclusively on the web and is involved in a wide variety of internet-related projects (e.g., web search, desktop search, newsgroup search, map and directory services, academic research, and language translation services). In this respect, Googles wide-ranging use of thumbnails is highly transformative: their creation and display is designed to, and does, display visual search results quickly and efficiently to users of Google Image Search.
The Ninth Circuits opinion in Kelly II is particularly instructive on this point:
Although Arriba made exact replications of Kellys images, the thumbnails were much smaller, lower-resolution images that served an entirely different function than Kellys original images. Kellys images are artistic works intended to inform and to engage the viewer in an aesthetic experience. His images are used to portray scenes from the American West in an aesthetic manner. Arribas use of Kellys images in the thumbnails is unrelated to any aesthetic purpose. Arribas search engine functions as a tool to help index and improve access to images on the internet and their related web sites. In fact, users are unlikely to enlarge the thumbnails and use them for artistic purposes because the thumbnails are of much lower-resolution than the originals; any enlargement results in a significant loss of clarity of the image, making them inappropriate as display material.
Kelly asserts that because Arriba[s thumbnails] reproduced his exact images and added nothing to them, Arribas use cannot be transformative. Courts have been reluctant to find fair use when an original work is merely retransmitted in a different medium. Those cases are inapposite, however, because the resulting use of the copyrighted work in those cases was the same as the original use. For instance, reproducing music CDs in computer MP3 format does not change the fact that both formats are used for entertainment purposes. Likewise, reproducing news footage into a different format does not change the ultimate purpose of informing the public about current affairs.
* * *
This case involves more than merely a retransmission of Kellys images in a different medium. Arribas use of [thumbnails] serves a different function than Kellys useimproving access to information on the internet versus artistic expression. Furthermore, it would be unlikely that anyone would use Arribas thumbnails for illustrative or aesthetic purposes because enlarging them sacrifices their clarity. Because Arribas use is not superseding Kellys use but, rather, has created a different purpose for the images, Arribas use is transformative.
* * *Arribas use of Kellys images [to create and display thumbnails] promotes the goals of the Copyright Act and the fair use exception. The thumbnails do not stifle artistic creativity because they are not used for illustrative or artistic purposes and therefore do not supplant the need for the originals. In addition, they benefit the public by enhancing information-gathering techniques on the Internet.
It is by now a truism that search engines such as Google Image Search provide great value to the public. Indeed, given the exponentially increasing amounts of data on the web, search engines have become essential sources of vital information for individuals, governments, non-profits, and businesses who seek to locate information. As such, Googles use of thumbnails to simplify and expedite access to information is transformative of P10s use of reduced-size images to entertain. But that does not end the analysis, because Googles use is simultaneously consumptive as well. In early 2005, after it filed suit against Google, P10 entered into a licensing agreement with Fonestarz Media Limited for the sale and distribution of P10 reduced-size images for download to and use on cell phones. Googles use of thumbnails does supersede this use of P10s images, because mobile users can download and save the thumbnails displayed by Google Image Search onto their phones. Googles thumbnail images are essentially the same size and of the same quality as the reduced-size images that P10 licenses to Fonestarz. Hence, to the extent that users may choose to download free images to their phone rather than purchase P10s reduced-size images, Googles use supersedes P10s. (This inquiry is closely related to the fourth fair use factor, i.e., the impact on plaintiffs potential market.)
In Kelly II, the Ninth Circuit found the first fair use factor to weigh in favor of Arriba: [T]his first factor weighs in favor of Arriba due to the public benefit of the search engine and the minimal loss of integrity to Kellys images. Here, because Googles use of thumbnails is more commercial than Arribas and because it is consumptive with respect to P10s reduced-size images, the Court concludes that this factor weighs slightly in favor of P10.
b. Nature of Copyrighted Work
Works that are creative in nature are closer to the core of intended copyright protection than are more fact-based works. Kelly II. The fact that a work is published or unpublished also is a critical element of its nature given a copyright holders right of first publication. Kelly II. (1985)). Published works are more likely to qualify as fair use because the first appearance of the artists expression has already occurred. Id. In Kelly II, however, the Ninth Circuit found that Kellys photographs, although creative, had appeared on the Internet before Arriba used them in its search image. Partly for that reason, the Ninth Circuit concluded that although the second statutory fair use factor weighed in favor of Kelly, its weight was slight. Similarly, here, although P10s images are creative, they, too, have previously been published, both in print and on the web. Thus, as in Kelly II, the Court concludes that this factor weighs only slightly in favor of P10.
c. Amount and Substantiality of the Portion Used
While wholesale copying does not preclude fair use per se, copying an entire work militates against a finding of fair use. Kelly IIHowever, the extent of permissible copying varies with the purpose and character of the use. Id. (citing Campbell, 510 U.S. at 586-87). If the secondary user only copies as much as is necessary for his or her intended use, then this factor will not weigh against him or her.
In Kelly II, the Ninth Circuit concluded:
This factor neither weighs for nor against either party because, although Arriba did copy each of Kellys images as a whole [to make thumbnails], it was reasonable to do so in light of Arribas use of the [thumbnails]. It was necessary for Arriba to copy the entire image to allow users to recognize the image and decide whether to pursue more information about the image or the originating web site. If Arriba only copied part of the image, it would be more difficult to identify it, thereby reducing the usefulness of the visual search engine.
The Court finds that Googles use of the infringing copies of P10s images also is no greater than necessary to achieve the objective of providing effective image search capabilities. In doing so, the Court rejects P10s contention that Google could have provided such assistance through the use of text, claiming that P10s images are more readily describable in words than Kellys images. First, contrary to P10s contention, photographs of nude women can, like photographs of the American West, vary greatly. Second, both kinds of pictures can be described verbally, yet no matter how susceptible any image is to textual description, words cannot adequately substitute for thumbnails in quickly and accurately conveying the content of indexed full-size images.
Thus, as in Kelly II, the Court finds that this factor favors neither party.
d. Effect of the Use upon the Potential Market for and Value of the Copyrighted Work
This last [fair use] factor requires courts to consider not only the extent of market harm caused by the particular actions of the alleged infringer, but also whether unrestricted and widespread conduct of the sort engaged in by the defendant would result in a substantially adverse impact on the potential market for the original. Kelly II. A transformative work is less likely to have an adverse impact on the market of the original than a work that merely supersedes the copyrighted work. Id. P10 targets its copyrighted small- and full-size images at several markets: the print magazine market, the online adult website subscription market, and the cell phone image download market. Googles use of thumbnails is not likely to affect the market for full-size images (whether in print or online). As stated in Kelly II,
The thumbnails would not be a substitute for the full-sized images because the thumbnails lose their clarity when enlarged. If a user wanted to view or download a quality image, he or she would have to visit Kellys original [and download the full-resolution image]. This would hold true whether the thumbnails are solely in Arribas database or are more widespread and found in other search engine databases.
On the other hand, Googles use of thumbnails likely does harm the potential market for the downloading of P10s reduced-size images onto cell phones. Google argues that because P10 admits [that] this market is growing, its delivery of thumbnail search results must not be having a negative impact. Apart from being more relevant to the quantification of damages, this weak argument overlooks the fact that the cell phone image-download market may have grown even faster but for the fact that mobile users of Google Image Search can download the Google thumbnails at no cost. Common sense dictates that such users will be less likely to purchase the downloadable P10 content licensed to Fonestarz.
3. Secondary Copyright LiabilityContributory and Vicarious Infringement
P10 contends that Google is likely to be held secondarily liable under the doctrines of contributory and vicarious infringement. One infringes contributorily by intentionally inducing or encouraging direct infringement and infringes vicariously by profiting from direct infringement while declining to exercise a right to stop or limit it Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd., --- U.S. ---, 125 S.Ct. 2764, 2776 (2005) [hereinafter Grokster] (citations omitted).
P10 argues that parties other than Google directly infringe its copyrights in two ways: (1) third-party websites directly infringe by reproducing, displaying, and distributing unauthorized copies of P10s copyrighted photographs and (2) users of Google directly infringe by downloading such images, thereby making infringing reproductions. Google does not contest that numerous third-party websites directly infringe by serving P10s copyrighted images. However, Google does argue that P10 has presented no evidence indicating that individual users of Google engage in direct infringement upon finding copyrighted P10 photos on the web. Google contends that [t]here are countless ways Google searchers can use Googles search results, including fair uses, and Perfect 10s evidence is missing on this point. On this point, the Court agrees with Google. P10 has not submitted evidence showing that individual users of Google themselves infringe P10s copyrights. P10 has demonstrated only that users of Google search are capable of directly infringing by downloading the underlying webpage or image. It is not unlikely that many users do just that, but on this preliminary injunction motion there is no evidence in the record proving so. In contrast, in the Napster and Grokster cases, there was overwhelming evidence that on a massive scale file-sharers were using those defendants software (essentially, peer-to-peer music search engines) to download, and thereby directly infringe, copyrighted works. See, e.g., A&M Records, Inc. v. Napster, Inc., 239 F.3d 1004, 1013-14 (9th Cir. 2001) [hereinafter Napster II]; Grokster, 125 S.Ct. at 2772. Furthermore, in those cases the file-sharers actually had to download songs in order to enjoy the music, thereby making infringing reproductions. In contrast, to view P10s photos, users of Googles search engine need only visit the third-party website that hosts and serves the infringing adult content.17
17 P10 argues that merely by viewing such websites, individual users of Google search make local cache copies of its photos and thereby directly infringe through reproduction. The Court rejects this argument. Local browser caching basically consists of a viewers computer storing automatically the most recently viewed content of the websites the viewer has visited. It is an automatic process of which most users are unaware, and its use likely is fair under 17 U.S.C. § 107. But cf. Intellectual Reserve, Inc. v. Utah Lighthouse Ministry, Inc., 75 F.Supp.2d 1290 (D. Utah 1999). Local caching by the browsers of individual users is noncommercial, transformative, and no more than necessary to achieve the objectives of decreasing network latency and minimizing unnecessary bandwidth usage (essential to the internet). It has a minimal impact on the potential market for the original work, especially given that most users would not be able to find their own local browser cache, let alone locate a specific cached copy of a particular image. That local browser caching is fair use is supported by a recent decision holding that Googles own cache constitutes fair use. Field v. Google , Inc., 2006 WL 242465 (D. Nev. Jan. 19, 2006). If anything, the argument that local browser caching is fair use is even stronger. Whereas Google is a commercial entity, individual users are typically noncommercial. Whereas Google arranges to maintain its own cache, individual users typically are not aware that their browsers automatically cache viewed content. Whereas Googles cache is open to the world, an individuals local browser cache is accessible on that computer alone.
P10s arguments that Google is secondarily liable therefore must be assessed in light of the only direct infringement (other than as to thumbnails) for which there is evidence: that of third-party websites that reproduce and display unauthorized copies of P10s photographs. As to these websites actions, P10 argues that Google is aware of, materially contributes to, profits from, and declines to supervise such direct infringement by (1) providing infringing websites an audience (by helping users locate them) and (2) providing a revenue stream to infringing websites via AdSense.
a. Contributory Infringement
To substantiate its claim of contributory infringement, P10 must show (1) that Google had knowledge of the infringing activity and (2) that Google induced, caused, or materially contributed to that activity. Google argues that it cannot be held contributorily liable under the Supreme Courts holding in Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc., 464 U.S. 417 (1984). That seminal 1984 Supreme Court decision barred secondary liability based on presuming or imputing intent to cause infringement solely from the design or distribution of a product capable of substantial lawful use, which the distributor knows is in fact used for infringement. Grokster (paraphrasing Sonys holding). Under Sony, Google cannot be deemed to have constructive knowledge of infringing activity since its search engine clearly is capable of commercially significant noninfringing uses. However, where evidence goes beyond a products characteristics or the knowledge that it may be put to infringing uses, and shows statements or actions directed to promoting [actively inducing] infringement, Sonys rule will not preclude liability. Grokster. As the Ninth Circuit presciently stated in Napster II: [A]ctual, specific knowledge of direct infringement renders Sonys holding of limited assistance to a defendant seeking to avoid contributory liability.
Whether an alleged secondary infringer has knowledge of an infringing activity includes both actual knowledge and constructive knowledge: Contributory liability requires that the secondary infringer know or have reason to know of direct infringement. Id.
P10 contends that Google has actual knowledge of specific acts of infringement based upon (1) numerous notices of infringement that P10 has sent Google, (2) the fact that certain infringing images contain Perfect 10 copyright notices, or labels such as P10 Fall 1999, and (3) the fact that Google monitors the content of allegedly Infringing Sites.
The Court rejects P10s second and third contentions. Google does not necessarily know that any given image on the internet is infringing someones copyright merely because the image contains a copyright notice. Google would need more information in order to know whether the operator of that third-party website created the work, licensed its use or instead was illegally displaying an infringing copy of it. Nor does Google obtain actual knowledge of infringement as a result of its alleged monitoring practices. Google claims that it no longer follows the AdSense policies to which P10 points. The current AdSense Program Policies webpage no longer contains language reserving to Google the right to monitor its AdSense partners. In any event, merely because Google may have reserved the right to monitor its AdSense partners does not mean that it could thereby discern whether the images served by those websites were subject to copyright. Only upon receiving proper notice of alleged infringement can Google determine whether a given AdSense partner has violated the terms of Googles AdSense Program Policies. Thus, the question here is whether P10 provided Google with adequate actual knowledge of specific infringing activities. Dr. Zada began to send notices of infringement in May 2001 and continued to do so through 2005. Google acknowledges that it received P10s notices. It argues, however, that those notices frequently did not describe in sufficient detail the specific location (URL) of an infringing image and frequently did not identify the underlying copyrighted work. For example, some notices included invalid, truncated URLs with an ellipsis between the domain name of the website and the file name of the particular webpage on which that image appeared. Other notices listed entire websites as infringing, or entire directories within a website. Google claims that despite these shortcomings, it promptly processed all of the notices it received, suppressing links to specific webpages that it could confirm displayed infringing P10 photos.
In the next section the Court concludes that Google does not materially contribute to the direct infringement of P10s photos by third-party websites. For that reason, without actually deciding the question, the Court will assume that Google has actual knowledge of infringement and will proceed to analyze the second element of contributory liabilityi.e., actual furthering of the activity.
ii. Material Contribution
To materially contribute to directly infringing activity, the defendant must engage in personal conduct that encourages or assists the infringement. Napster II. P10 contends that Google does so by (1) giving infringing websites an audience (i.e., allowing users to locate infringing sites) and (2) providing infringing websites with a revenue stream via AdSense or increasing their existing revenue stream by increasing user traffic.
For legal support that what Google does materially contributes, P10 relies heavily on the Ninth Circuits decision in Napster II. In light of the plentiful factual distinctions between Napster II and this case (as detailed in the following chart), P10s reliance on that decision is misplaced.
Google resembles Napster only in facilitating searches (i.e., helping users find information) and even then there are significant differences. Whereas Napster dedicated itself to helping users locate audio files found on the otherwise inaccessible hard drives of individual users, Google helps users locate all types of information (text, images, video, newsgroup discussion threads, blogs, academic papers, price information, maps, driving directions) found on the entire, publicly accessible web.
In short, Google does not materially contribute to direct infringement in the ways or to the extent that Napster did. Nevertheless, P10 argues, Google contributes differently: it provides an audience and brand recognition for infringing third-party websites and it advertises for the sites. P10 overstates Googles actual conduct and confuses search technology with active encouragement and promotion of infringing activity. P10 likens this case to Gershwin Publg. Corp. v. Columbia Artists Mgmt., Inc., 443 F.2d 1159 (2d Cir. 1971). There, the Second Circuit found material contribution in defendants pervasive participation in the formation and direction “of [an] association which put on concerts at which copyrighted musical compositions were performed. The defendant organized the concerts, helped select and book artists, prepared budgets and artist contracts, created publicity kits, held one-week membership campaigns and compiled a report of the proceeds of the concerts.” Nothing Google does is comparable.
P10s citation to Columbia Pictures Indus., Inc. v. Redd Horne, Inc., 749 F.2d 154 (3d Cir. 1984) is similarly inapposite. In Columbia Pictures, the defendant, unlike Google, conducted all of the advertising and promotional work for [the alleged direct infringer, and also] provided financial, accounting, and administrative services All of these services, and the advertising services in particular, contributed and, indeed, were essential to the copyright infringement. Here, in contrast, Google has not actively encouraged users to visit infringing third-party websites, and it has not induced or encouraged such websites to serve infringing content in the first place. Moreover, it would be a gross generalization that cannot withstand scrutiny to argue that supplying the means to accomplish an infringing activity and [even] encouraging that activity through advertisement are sufficient to establish liability for copyright infringement. Sony, 464 U.S. at 436 (emphasis added).
P10 cites Grokster in support of its claim that Google materially contributes by provid[ing] a revenue stream to infringing websites, including placing [AdSense] advertisements next to infringing P10 images on these third party websites. In the language that P10 cites, the Supreme Court noted that StreamCast and Grokster made money
by directing ads to the screens of computers employing their software. As the record shows, the more the software is used, the more ads are sent out and the greater the advertising revenue becomes. Since the extent of the softwares use determines the gain to the distributors, the commercial sense of their enterprise turns on high-volume use, which the record shows is infringing.
This language, however, pertained to the Supreme Courts inducement theory of contributory infringement, not to the analysis of material contribution. Although the two inquiries overlap to some extent, Grokster does not support P10s argument that AdSense materially contributes to direct infringement occurring on third-party websites. Although AdSense may provide some level of additional revenue to these websites, P10 has not presented any evidence establishing what that revenue is, much less that it is material (either in its own right or relative to those websites total income). There is no evidence that these sites rely on Google AdSense for their continued existence or that they were created with the purpose of profiting from the display of AdSense advertisements.
In short, P10 has failed to meet its burden of establishing that it is likely that Googles AdSense program will be found to materially contribute to the direct infringement taking place on infringing third-party websites. Such websites existed long before Google Image Search was developed and would continue to exist were Google Image Search shut down. Accordingly, it is unlikely that Google will be found contributorily liable.
b. Vicarious Infringement
To prove vicarious infringement, P10 must show (1) that Google enjoys a direct financial benefit from the infringing activity of third-party websites that host and serve infringing copies of P10 photographs and (2) that Google has declined to exercise the right and ability to supervise or control the infringing activity. Neither party has submitted any evidence, such as economic data or expert reports, showing the extent (if any) to which Google benefits financially from copyright infringement by third-party websites. It is likely that at least some users are drawn to Google Image Search because they know that copies of P10s photos can be viewed for free, and it is indisputable that Google does stand to benefit the more users visit and use Google Image Search. In principle, any increase in Googles web traffic leads to increased advertising revenue, brand awareness, and market clout for Google. Does that constitute a direct financial benefit?
In Napster II, the Ninth Circuit found that Napster had a direct financial interest in the infringing activity, and, citing to Fonovisa, Inc. v. Cherry Auction, Inc., 76 F.3d 259 (9th Cir. 1996), the Court of Appeals stated,
Financial benefit exists where the availability of infringing material acts as a draw for customers. Fonovisa (stating that financial benefit may be shown where infringing performances enhance the attractiveness of a venue). Ample evidence supports the district courts finding that Napsters future revenue is directly dependent upon increases in user-base. More users register with the Napster system as the quality and quantity of available music increases.
Napster II, 239 F.3d at 1023. This broad definition of direct financial benefit would encompass even a future hope to monetize. Under this standard, Google clearly benefits financially from third parties displays of P10s photos. Google certainly derives a direct financial benefit if users visit AdSense partners websites that contain such infringing photos. If Google serves advertisements that are displayed on such sites, it will share in the ad revenue. Hence, its financial benefit is direct.
As to the second prong of vicarious liability, P10 again invokes Napster II in support of its contention that Google has the right and ability to control the infringing activity taking place on the web. In Napster II, the Ninth Circuit stated that the ability to block infringers access to a particular environment for any reason whatsoever is evidence of the right and ability to supervise. Napster II. Napster did control the particular environment in which its file-sharing service operated; its architecture was based on a proprietary, closed-universe system, not an open, web-based service. If Napster removed a link to infringing content, the content was no longer available on Napsters entire filesharing network. That is not the case here. Google does not exercise control over the environment in which it operatesi.e., the web. Googles ability to remove a link from its search index does not render the linked-to site inaccessible. The site remains accessible both directly and indirectly (i.e., via other search engines, as well as via the mesh of websites that link to it). If the phrase right and ability to control means having substantial input into or authority over the decision to serve or continue serving infringing content, Google lacks such right or ability.
Moreover, Googles software lacks the ability to analyze every image on the Internet, compare each image to all the other copyrighted images that exist in the world (or even to that much smaller subset of images that have been submitted to Google by copyright owners such as P10), and determine whether a certain image on the web infringes someones copyright.25 In addition, Googles right and ability to remove infringing websites from its index would make it more difficult for such websites to be found on the web, but those sites would continue to exist anyway. Google cannot shut down infringing websites or prevent them from continuing to provide infringing content to the world.
25 P10 nevertheless claims that Google can prevent its web crawler from indexing websites with a history of infringement and that it can block access to images based on their verbal context (i.e., blocking all images that would be responsive to a particular search query). Both measures suffer from the same flaws: imprecision and overbreadth. P10 has not explained how Google could evaluate whether a certain site has a history of infringement. For Google to block certain images altogether would suppress many search results that do not infringe. Thus, to filter all images responsive to the search query Vibe Sorenson (see attached Exhibit A) would suppress both infringing and noninfringing (e.g., licensed) images. Similarly, because websites are often comprised of dozens, if not hundreds of pages, suppressing an entire website due to the infringing content found on one or more specific pages would result in the suppression of speech and would be against the public interest.
P10 points out that Googles AdSense policies reserve the right to monitor and terminate partnerships with entities that violate others copyright. This, P10 contends, is evidence of Googles right and ability to control AdSense partners infringing conduct. The right and ability to control infringing activity of others requires more than what is embodied in Googles AdSense revenue-sharing agreement; there must be some form of control over or authority to stop or limit the infringing conduct itself. P10 has not established a likelihood of proving the second prong necessary for vicarious liability.
4. Conclusion Regarding Likelihood of Success
P10 is likely to succeed in proving that Google directly infringes by creating and displaying thumbnail copies of its photographs. P10 is unlikely to succeed in proving that Google can be held secondarily liable.
C. Irreparable Harm
In copyright cases, irreparable harm is presumed once a sufficient likelihood of success is raised. Google argues that P10s unreasonable delay rebuts any presumption of immediate or irreparable harm. Although P10 did wait six months to file suit and another nine months to seek a preliminary injunction, P10 did so justifiably; it was engaged in settlement discussions with Google and was evaluating whether Google would remove the infringing thumbnail images from its index. P10 has satisfied the irreparable harm element.
D. Public Interest
Google argues that the value of facilitating and improving access to information on the Internet counsels against an injunction here. This point has some merit. However, the public interest is also served when the rights of copyright holders are protected against acts likely constituting infringement. Furthermore, in this case a preliminary injunction can be carefully tailored to balance the competing interests described in the first paragraph of this Order: those of intellectual property rights on the one hand and those promoting access to information on the other. The Court ORDERS P10 and Google to propose jointly the language of such an injunction, and to lodge their proposal by not later than March 8, 2006.
For the reasons discussed above, the Court GRANTS IN PART and DENIES IN PART P10s motion for a preliminary injunction against Google
1. This recent decision has already been the subject of critical commentary. Professor Oren Bracha of U. of Tex. has characterized its direct infringement analysis as "unconvincing as a matter of both law and policy." He added:
Especially puzzling is the court's traditional reference to the our-hands-are-tied apology – "the court is reluctant to issue a decision that might impede the advance of internet technology" – and "the enormous public benefit" of search engines, but stating it is bound by "existing judicial precedents" and "reasoned analysis of the four fair use factors." It is puzzling, given the fact that the court actually engages in complex and hairsplitting maneuvers in order to distinguish the Ninth Circuit Kelly v. Arriba Soft decision.
The distinction of Arriba Soft is based on two factors. First, the nature of Google’s use is more commercial than that of Arriba, because Google included in its thumbnail array infringing images from Websites with which Google has advertising arrangements, which leads to increased traffic to those Websites, from which Google will profit. The court says that this tilts the first factor “slightly against” Google. (In so concluding, the court does not explain why the commercial use outweighs the transformativeness which dominated the analysis in Arriba Soft.)
Second, P10’s cell-phone licensing market for small images is potentially adversely affected by the presence of free thumbnails on the Internet. The court observed, “[T]he cell phone image-download market may have grown even faster but for the fact that mobile users of Google Image Search can download the Google thumbnails at no cost.” Professor Tim Wu of Stanford says of this – “you have a district court breaking with Ninth Circuit precedent based on the argument, in essence, that growth of the market in cell phone photos has overruled Kelly.”
Anyway, returning to Professor Bracha’s comments, the net effect is that two “slight tilts” outweigh the transformative, beneficial social effect of the image search engine. He asks whether this approach is defensible, since (in his view) the transformative, beneficial social effect of the image search engine vastly outweighs the two slight tilts. The choice is whether to count up the fair use factors on sort of an Electoral College basis (winner takes all, state by state) or else to compare weighted sums on each side (net popular vote comparison determines overall winner).
2. Another approach is suggested by Professor Glynn Lunney's proposal that “a use should be found unfair and hence infringing only where the copyright owner has proven by the preponderance of the evidence that society has more to gain than it has to lose by prohibiting the use at issue.” See Glynn S. Lunney, Fair Use and Market Failure: Sony Revisited, 82 B.U. L. Rev. 975 (2002). What about fair use being an affirmative defense? (The Ninth Circuit subsequently held that for purposes of determining whether to issue a preliminary injunction, the copyright owner has the burden of showing that the accused infringer is unlikely to prevail on its fair use defense.)
3. Professor William Patry of Cardozo sees the main issue as license. He says, in his blog:
I wonder, however, whether there isn't a legitimate implied license argument. It runs this way: those who place content on the Internet do so with the knowledge and expectation that it will be found; that's the only reason for placing it in cyberspace. The only way to find content is through search engines. If one wants to limit access, that can be done through password or other protections, and robots.tx tags. As to end-users, one can have a contractual arrangement, click-through or otherwise that places conditions on use.
Perfect 10 had at least two levels of access, one as a teaser (www.perfect10.com) (I believe the only one Google searched) and one that was a subscription access only (www.perfect10.com/join.html) (which I believe Google didn't search). As to the teaser, why shouldn't there be an implied license to search and display the results of the search? When one places content on the Internet, one does so with full awarness of how it operates. This is not to say that the Internet is a Wild West where no laws apply, it is rather taking into account the realities of it and the ability of those who don't like the default reality to sculpt their own rules.
Do you agree? A second Patry blogging of P10 v. Google.
4. For another blog’s take (Electronic Frontier Foundation), see this. It points out how the court got it right on three issues and wrong on only one. It suggests also that the Fonestarz license (executed after litigation started) was concocted for purposes of the litigation.
6. Does the Fonestarz Web site suggest to you a possible technical fix that would make moot the whole § 107(4) argument about the thumbnails being downloaded for use on cell phones? Is the availability of a technical fix a defense to a claim of infringement? Is the availability of a technical fix material to a fair-use analysis? How? What should the legal effect be of a copyright owner's failure to adopt a readily available technical expedient such as this? Remember what Clint Eastwood (as Bill Munny) said to Gene Hackman (as Little Bill Daggett) in The Unforgiven. Who should be obliged to utilize the technical expedient here, Google or P10? Is that the right question to ask?
In another Google case, Field v. Google, Inc., a lawyer sued Google for maintaining a cached version of his material on the Google server. (The cached version highlights the search words that the user selected. Use of the cache version permits the user to locate the searched word readily, which is helpful in a long entry with considerable extraneous material.) The court pointed out the usefulness of such caching and described a simple technical expedient that causes Google not to cache the site. The court indicated that failure to utilize this technical fix, at least in the circumstance of this case, created an implied license to cache. In its fair-use analysis, the court suggests that caching is a transformative use. Except for highlighting the search words, the text of the original is reproduced without change. Is such a reproduction also a derivative work? Or is it like Blazon? Can such a use be deemed transformative? Does that matter – that is, is being transformative essential to fair use in defiance of the reproduction right under § 106(1)?
5. The court asserts: “[M]obile users of Google Image Search can download the Google thumbnails at no cost. Common sense dictates that such users will be less likely to purchase the downloadable P10 content licensed to Fonestarz.” Should we take that seriously? How likely is it that a mobile user who knows how to download a thumbnail image from the Google search page does not also know how to download the full size image from the P10 Web page and make a thumbnail version of it?
6. On May 16, 2007, the Ninth Circuit issued a double-feature opinion in this case and one that P10 had brough separately against Amazon. Perfect 10, Inc. v. Amazon.com, Inc., 487 F.3d 701 (9th Cir. 2007). The court of appeals affirmed most of the district court opinion but reversed the part about thumbnails. The court agreed with the district court that the thumbnails directly infringed P10's copyrights, but (disagreeing with the district court) said that Google's use was a fair use because of its transformative character. The Ninth Circuit also reversed the ruling in Google's favor on contributory infringement. The court summarized its ruling in these terms:
We conclude that Perfect 10 is unlikely to succeed in overcoming Google's fair use defense, and therefore we reverse the district court's determination that Google's thumbnail versions of Perfect 10's images likely constituted a direct infringement. The district court also erred in its secondary liability analysis because it failed to consider whether Google and Amazon.com knew of infringing activities yet failed to take reasonable and feasible steps to refrain from providing access to infringing images. Therefore we must also reverse the district court's holding that Perfect 10 was unlikely to succeed on the merits of its secondary liability claims. Due to this error, the district court did not consider whether Google and Amazon.com are entitled to the limitations on liability set forth in title II of the DMCA. The question whether Google and Amazon.com are secondarily liable, and whether they can limit that liability pursuant to title II of the DMCA, raise fact intensive inquiries, potentially requiring further fact finding, and thus can best be resolved by the district court on remand. We therefore remand this matter to the district court for further proceedings consistent with this decision.
On linking, the Ninth Circuit said this:
Google does not … display a copy of full-size infringing photographic images for purposes of the Copyright Act when Google frames in-line linked images that appear on a user’s computer screen. Because Google’s computers do not store the photographic images, Google does not have a copy of the images for purposes of the Copyright Act. In other words, Google does not have any “material objects … in which a work is fixed … and from which the work can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated” and thus cannot communicate a copy. Instead of communicating a copy of the image, Google provides HTML instructions that direct a user’s browser to a website publisher’s computer that stores the full-size photographic image. Providing these HTML instructions is not equivalent to showing a copy. First, the HTML instructions are lines of text, not a photographic image. Second, HTML instructions do not themselves cause infringing images to appear on the user’s computer screen. The HTML merely gives the address of the image to the user’s browser. The browser then interacts with the computer that stores the infringing image. It is this interaction that causes an infringing image to appear on the user’s computer screen. Google may facilitate the user’s access to infringing images. However, such assistance raised only contributory liability issues and does not constitute direct infringement of the copyright owner’s display rights. …While in-line linking and framing may cause some computer users to believe they are viewing a single Google webpage, the Copyright Act, unlike the Trademark Act, does not protect a copyright holder against acts that cause consumer confusion.
On the transformative effect of Google's use of the thumbnails,. the Ninth Circuit said (citations omitted):
Google’s use of thumbnails is highly transformative. In Kelly we concluded that Arriba’s use of thumbnails was transformative because “Arriba’s use of the images served a different function than Kelly’s use — improving access to information on the Internet versus artistic expression. Although an image may have been created originally to serve an entertainment, aesthetic, or informative function, a search engine transforms the image into a pointer directing a user to a source of information. Just as a “parody has an obvious claim to transformative value” because “it can provide social benefit, by shedding light on an earlier work, and, in the process, creating a new one,” a search engine provides social benefit by incorporating an original work into a new work, namely, an electronic reference tool. Indeed, a search engine may be more transformative than a parody because a search engine provides an entirely new use for the original work, while a parody typically has the same entertainment purpose as the original work. See, e.g., [2 Live Crew] (holding that 2 Live Crew’s parody of “Oh, Pretty Woman” using the words “hairy woman” or “bald headed woman” was a transformative work, and thus constituted a fair use); [Mattel Barbie case] (concluding that photos parodying Barbie by depicting “nude Barbie dolls juxtaposed with vintage kitchen appliances” was a fair use). In other words, a search engine puts images “in a different context” so that they are “transformed into a new creation.” …In conducting our case-specific analysis of fair use in light of the purposes of copyright, we must weigh Google’s superseding and commercial uses of thumbnail images against Google’s significant transformative use, as well as the extent to which Google’s search engine promotes the purposes of copyright and serves the interests of the public. Although the district court acknowledged the “truism that search engines such as Google Image Search provide great value to the public,” the district court did not expressly consider whether this value outweighed the significance of Google’s superseding use or the commercial nature of Google’s use. The Supreme Court, however, has directed us to be mindful of the extent to which a use promotes the purposes of copyright and serves the interests of the public.
…We conclude that the significantly transformative nature of Google’s search engine, particularly in light of its public benefit, outweighs Google’s superseding and commercial uses of the thumbnails in this case. …We are also mindful of the Supreme Court’s direction that “the more transformative the new work, the less will be the significance of other factors, like commercialism, that may weigh against a finding of fair use.”
Accordingly, we disagree with the district court’s conclusion that because Google’s use of the thumbnails could supersede Perfect 10’s cell phone download use and because the use was more commercial than Arriba’s, this fair use factor weighed “slightly” in favor of Perfect 10. Instead, we conclude that the transformative nature of Google’s use is more significant than any incidental superseding use or the minor commercial aspects of Google’s search engine and website. Therefore, the district court erred in determining this factor weighed in favor of Perfect 10.
… Google has put Perfect 10’s thumbnail images (along with millions of other thumbnail images) to a use fundamentally different than the use intended by Perfect 10. In doing so, Google has provided a significant benefit to the public. Weighing this significant transformative use against the unproved use of Google’s thumbnails for cell phone downloads, and considering the other fair use factors, all in light of the purpose of copyright, we conclude that Google’s use of Perfect 10’s thumbnails is a fair use. … We conclude that Perfect 10 is unlikely to be able to overcome Google’s fair use defense and, accordingly, we vacate the preliminary injunction regarding Google’s use of thumbnail images.
The Ninth Circuit found fair use, despite the following factors tilting in P10's favor:
- Google's use was commercial, designed to generate revenue for Google.
- Google's use had an at least hypothetical adverse effect on P10's image licensing deal with Fonestarz.
- Google used 100% of P10's copyrighted work, which was expressive. (As for the 100%, it was necessary to use 100% to allow the users to recognize the image. If Google used only part of the image the functionality to users would be impaired.)
How the Ninth Circuit addressed the apples and oranges comparison. In so ruling, the Ninth Circuit weighed the value of the transformativeness (as measured by some unstated unit of utility) and weighed the impact of the preceding three factors. It found that the transformativeness outweighed the latter, and therefore the use was fair. This is certainly a more subtle and nuanced analysis than is usual in fair use cases.
The advent of Iframing (inline framing) has made framing much easier to code in HTML and may lead to further disputes over framing. The <iframe> command in HTML permits a user to code a frame of another Web page as easily as coding an inline image. The basic code for an illustrative iframe is:
align=left width=720" height="400" [some omissions and simplifications] > </iframe>
A tutorial on iframing is available on the Internet. For a discussion and illustration of how iframing can be used to import one Web page into another, see the notional Dilbert iframe page. Consider whether this kind of unconsented-to use of another's Web page is the unauthorized preparation of a derivative work. Is it a reproduction or distribution of a copy? Is it an unauthorized public performance or display (Kelly's theory in the Arriba Soft case)?
The paradigm of framing or iframing is to exploit the content of the original, copyright-protected page by reducing its width (if it is a whole Web page) and causing it to be placed in a window on the end user's screen next to material of the framer. At least metaphorically, this is similar to the fact pattern of the Mirage and Annie Lee cases.
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