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German Court Finds Google’s Image Search Infringing

The German blogsphere is buzzing about the new opinion handed down by a court in Hamburg, finding Google’s image search infringing. The court agreed with the copyright holder of comics images, and held that the unauthorized display of the images as thumbnails on the search result pages violated his rights.

The first thing that came to my mind was Perfect 10 v. Google, which rejected similar allegations under fair use, finding that Google’s use of the images was “highly transformative.” But the star guest in this party cannot be fair use, because such a defense does not exist in German law. Google vows to fight through the instances, so it is definitely not the end of the story. I haven't gotten the chance to read the decision yet, but as soon as I do and have something to add, there will be a follow-up.

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