Perfect 10 Sues Microsoft for Copyright Infringement

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. - Perfect 10, a publisher of nude photography, announced Thursday that it had filed a copyright-infringement lawsuit against Microsoft. The suit claims that Microsoft's MSN search engine gave users access to unauthorized links and images.

According to Norm Zada, president of Perfect 10, the company loses $4 million each month because unauthorized links and images appear in search results at MSN, Google and Amazon. The lawsuit against Microsoft claims that MSN users have gained access to Perfect 10's website by searching for passwords that are illicitly posted on other sites.

"Our businesses are being destroyed," Zada said in a PCWorld article. "This is a life-and-death battle for us."

Zada said Microsoft has rejected efforts to reach a settlement. Microsoft could not be reached for comment.

Perfect 10 recently froze print production of its magazine, reportedly because images were readily available for free through online search engines. Perfect 10 has filed lawsuits against more than 20 websites, charging them with stealing content.

A previous copyright-infringement lawsuit Perfect 10 had filed against Google and Amazon was dismissed in February, although the judge ruled that Google and Amazon could be held at least partly liable for Perfect 10's losses due to the display of unauthorized thumbnail images.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned most of that decision in May, ruling that Google's use of thumbnail versions of Perfect 10 images constituted "fair use" and that framing full-size versions of the images hosted on third-party sites did not constitute copyright infringement. The court also cited benefits that search engines offer the general public.

Zada said Perfect 10 is appealing the court's decision, but no court date has been scheduled.