Search Engines Score Another Perfect 10: The Continued Misuse of Copyrighted Images on the Internet

June 16, 2012

In Kelly v. Arriba Soft Corp., the Ninth Circuit held that search engines’ reproduction of images for use as thumbnails is a fair use under the Copyright Act. This Recent Development critiques the Ninth Circuit’s analysis in determining whether a search engine infringed on a copyright holder’s rights. The author proposes that this ruling broadened the scope of fair use on the Internet. As a result, Kelly does not fulfill copyright law’s goal of providing a balance between the rights of the copyright holder and the rights of the general public. However, a recent ruling against the search engine Google may be one of the first steps toward curtailing search engines’ power.