The Washington Post confirms:
A federal appeals court ruled yesterday that Google did not infringe on the copyrights of an adult publishing company by displaying thumbnail images of its nude photographs, handing Internet search companies a victory by allowing the display of such miniature pictures in search results.
The implications here are big. Most significant for the broader Web and business of search, Judge Sandra S. Ikuta noted:
We conclude that the significantly transformative nature of Google’s search engine, particularly in light of its public benefit, outweighs Google’s superseding and commercial uses of the thumbnails in this case.
Still, this decision is significant because porn is among the most significant content and cultural genres on the Web — in terms of passive audience, active participants, time spent, bandwidth used and efforts to block and deny among a myriad other factors. The inclusion of images in search is key to the larger dispersion and sustainability of the XXX underworld. Of course, individual XXX businesses will often argue otherwise, because sometimes those teaser images in search are “good enough.”