Google Loses Two German Copyright Cases Over Image Search Thumbnails

Google (NSDQ: GOOG) has told it intends to appeal two seperate copyright cases it lost in Hamburg, Germany today over its unauthorised indexing of an artist’s work and a photographer’s photo as thumbnails in Google image search results. Bloomberg reported that Google lost both cases at the Regional Court of Hamburg: photographer Michael Bernhard brought the action after one of his pictures was shown in a search results page and artist Thomas Horn applied to the court after comics he holds the copyright to were shown in the results. In its ruling in favour of Bernhard the court said: “It doesn’t matter that thumbnails are much smaller than original pictures and are displayed in a lower resolution.”
–Google’s response: “Google is disappointed and intends to appeal the ruling to the German Supreme Court because we believe that services like Google Image Search are entirely legal… Today’s decision is very bad for Internet users in Germany, it is a major step backwards for German e-business in general, and it is bad for the thousands of websites who receive valuable traffic through Image Search and similar services.”
Google is no stranger to copyright battles and has appealed them before, which it did after losing a ruling in the Belgian courts in the long-running copyright dispute with Belgian newspaper association Copiepresses in 2007. Google-owned Youtube was sued in July by *Viacom* and media companies in Italy, France and Spain for infringement.