A9, Perfect 10 and the Supreme Court

Cnet has an article about the publisher of Perfect 10 suing Amazon over its A9 search engine.

The suit and another against Google by the publisher claims the operators of these search engines are infringing on Perfect 10's copyright by including images in their search results. To my non-legally educated mind, the suits don't seem to be such a huge deal. There are plenty of opportunities for Perfect 10 to protect their copyright. If as the article implies the suit has to do with Google indexing other sites that are hosting the infringing images then separate action against those sites will solve two problems at once. It seems from this seat on the sideline like a company looking for a way to squeeze money from the search engines that are making money.

The article notes in the last paragraph "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." Which leads me to say um, not really. Cnet needs to get their facts straight here. The Supreme Court ruled that there was enough evidence that the cases against Grokster and Streamcast should not have been granted summary judgement. They went on to describe a lot of actions that look like the companies were inducing users to violate copyrights of third parties. However, they also by way of example, suggested filters might be one way a company could help to show they are not liable for inducing infringement. It so happens that robots.txt is just one such filtering mechanism that Google, A9 and others support.