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 The future of Google's image search in Germany

The German Federal Supreme Court has ruled that Google’s image search results  do not infringe copyright law. So displaying thumbnail images is legal! So far we only have the press release. It is not quite clear yet, how the court reached that decision. The main reason for the finding was that the suing artist had not used a simple technical measure (robots.txt) to stop Google from indexing his website. Judging from the press release und contrary to some news reports the court did not find that this amounts to consent to the use of images, but instead came up with another legal twist. But we wont know for sure untill we have the reasoning of the court.


The verdict is also not the end of the discussion about Google Image Search in Germany. There is another case pending in Hamburg, in which a work has been published online by third parties without the artist’s permission. Following the reasoning of the ECJ AdWords decision, the German Federal Supreme Court hinted that Google could only be liable if it was informed of the copyright infringement and did not act.


Also see: Google image search results do not infringe copyright, says German court,; BGH: Google's image search is no copyright infringement, IPKat




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