Adult site sues Amazon over sexy images

Perfect 10 lawsuit claims Amazon.com's A9 search site shows thousands of photos without permission.

Elinor Mills
Elinor Mills Former Staff Writer
Elinor Mills covers Internet security and privacy. She joined CNET News in 2005 after working as a foreign correspondent for Reuters in Portugal and writing for The Industry Standard, the IDG News Service and the Associated Press.
2 min read
Adult magazine publisher Perfect 10 is suing Amazon.com, alleging that the e-tailer's search engine is violating copyright law by displaying thousands of images from its Web site without permission.

"It is Perfect 10's contention that 'search engines' such as A9.com and Google are displaying hundreds of thousands of adult images, from the most tame to the most exceedingly explicit, to draw massive traffic to their Web sites, which they convert into ad revenue or sales revenue," the publisher said in a statement.

Beverly Hills, Calif.-based Perfect 10 filed a similar lawsuit against Google in November and said it has sent numerous notices of infringement to both Google and Amazon that have been ignored.

Representatives from Google and Amazon did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

The lawsuit against Amazon was filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on Wednesday. A motion for preliminary injunction, that was due to be filed on Friday, asks the court to prevent Amazon's A9 search unit from displaying and distributing the images, said Russell Frackman, an attorney representing Perfect 10.

The lawsuits allege infringement of more than 1,000 images. Under U.S. copyright law, defendants could be liable for up to $150,000 for each infraction, Frackman said.

The Google lawsuit has been tied up in discovery disputes, he added.

The search sites are displaying reduced-size images of Perfect 10's, but also larger images and links to many other Web sites that are showing full sizes of the copyright images, Frackman said.

Porn is driving searches, and thus ad sales, on the Web, said Norm Zada, a former professor and IBM computer science research staff member who launched Perfect 10 magazine in 1997. "Overture's Key Selector Tool indicates that most searches on the Internet are sex-related," he said in a statement.

As search engines expand into images and video, they are increasingly at risk of becoming targets of copyright lawsuits. On Thursday, Google scrambled to remove movies and TV episodes that were uploaded to its new video search site that infringed on copyright.

The situation is more dire after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled earlier this week that companies can be held legally liable for copyright piracy that takes place on their online networks.