Google Loses German Copyright Cases Over Image-Search Previews By Karin Matussek from http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601204&sid=a_C1wVkCvPww
Oct. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Google Inc., owner of the world's most popular Internet-search engine, lost two copyright lawsuits in Germany over displaying photos and artworks as thumbnails in a preview of search results.
Google's preview of a picture by German photographer Michael Bernhard violates his copyrights, the Regional Court of Hamburg ruled, his lawyer Matthies van Eendenburg said in an interview today. Thomas Horn, who holds the copyrights on some comics that were displayed in Google search results, won a second case, court spokeswoman Sabine Westphalen said in an e-mail.
``It doesn't matter that thumbnails are much smaller than original pictures and are displayed in a lower resolution,'' the court said in its ruling for Bernhard. ``By using photos in thumbnails, no new work is created,'' that may have justified displaying them without permission.
The conflict highlights disputes over how copyrighted works can be used without an owner's permission. Web sites such as Google have made it easier for consumers to share such material, prompting artists, publishers and sports leagues to step up efforts to protect their property.
Google's German spokesman Stefan Keuchel didn't immediately reply to a message left on his voice-mail requesting comment.
The rulings can be appealed.
German newspaper Computerbild earlier reported the ruling for Horn.
The cases are 308 O 42/06 and 308 O 248/07 at the Hamburg Regional Court.
To contact the reporter on this story: Karin Matussek in Berlin at firstname.lastname@example.org