October 15, 2008

Google Loses German Copyright Lawsuit

A German court ruled Tuesday Google must get permission from the owner or creator of an art work before displaying it.

An artist and a photographer sued Google, objecting to the company's display of thumbnail reproductions of their work, Deutsche Welle reported. The court in Hamburg found the thumbnails are reproductions.

"It doesn't matter that thumbnails are much smaller than original pictures and are displayed in a lower resolution," the court said.

Google plans to appeal. Kay Oberbeck, a spokeswoman for Google German, told the Hamburger Abenblatt "capitulates us into the digital Stone Age."

Searches on Google images can bring up thousands of thumbnail pictures. The Internet company warns it may be copyrighted and that they are scaled down from the original.

The suit was filed by Thomas Horn, an artist who does comic pictures, and photographer Michael Bernhard.