Court Rules Against Perfect 10 in Google Copyright Battle

SAN FRANCISCO — The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Perfect 10 yesterday in its long-running copyright infringement battle with Google.

Perfect 10 claimed that Google’s Image Search significantly poached and posted free images from its website between 2005 and 2010 that resulted in loses of over $50 million from 1996 to 2007, pushing the company close to bankruptcy.

The federal appeals court in Pasadena affirmed a lower court's decision not to grant a preliminary injunction against Google Inc., finding that the Perfect 10 website could not show it had or would suffer irreparable harm.

Judge Sandra Ikuta wrote in the ruling, "While being forced into bankruptcy qualifies as a form of irreparable harm, Perfect 10 has not established that the requested injunction would forestall that fate.

"Perfect 10 has not shown a sufficient causal connection between irreparable harm to Perfect 10's business and Google's operation of its search engine.”

U.S. District Judge A. Howard Matz and a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit unanimously blocked the bid to grant the injunction. The panel found that Perfect 10 had failed to "submit a statement from even a single former subscriber who ceased paying for Perfect 10's service because of the content freely available via Google."

The panel also said that Perfect 10 did not prove that it was in sound financial shape before the alleged infringements.

It wasn’t all bad news for Perfect 10 this week however. The company scored a legal victory in its $5 million copyright suit against file-sharing membership site Megaupload, after a judge advanced the case by ruling that the file-storage site may be liable for direct and contributory infringement.

And in June Perfect 10 filed a separate copyright infringement suit against file storage site's for harboring its content. The site's operators were hit with a $5 million suit by Perfect 10, which called the business "not a legitimate file storage company and has none of the characteristics of one."

XBIZ was not immediately able to reach Perfect 10 for comment on yesterday's ruling at post time.