CEA: Copyright law should not bar Google video search

In an ongoing effort to defend fair use rights, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA(R)) Friday filed an amicus brief defending Google in its current U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals case. The brief argues that the Court should uphold the principal that fair use allows Google to use thumbnail pictures. This is the second friend of the court brief filed by CEA last week questioning the expansion of copyright as the content community seeks to restrict fair use.
“The content community’s trampling of consumer rights has never been more open and brazen,” said Gary Shapiro, CEA’s President and CEO. “Just days ago, CEA filed a brief defending XM Satellite Radio’s right to fair use and allow radio time shifting. Just two weeks ago a court found that Cleanflicks, a company protecting parents against vile language and obscenity, had to shut down even though it bought a DVD for every one it sold or rented. Now this! The content industry is in a non-stop battle to stop new technology, limit existing products and frustrate consumers.

“The plaintiff, Perfect 10, is a major pornography distributor. Hollywood and the record labels have filed briefs in Perfect 10’s defense.

“This case challenges the legality of a tool used by millions of Americans to find information on the Internet – the search engine. Previously, the Ninth Circuit District Court correctly concluded that Google’s linking does not infringe the display right, nor does it constitute contributory infringement. But, the District Court erroneously found that Google’s display of thumbnail images in its search results was not a fair use. This finding threatens the availability of Google’s crucial search tools and is fundamentally incorrect.

“We ask Congress to stop expanding copyright law without also protecting consumer rights. The Perfect 10, XM and Cleanflicks lawsuits are so bizarre. They simply demonstrate a need to return to sanity in the copyright law. These lawsuits come at the same time the recording industry is pushing multiple pieces of legislation aimed at controlling fair use rights. The totalitarian efforts by the content industry to restrict consumer access to information, services and technology must be stopped. We oppose piracy but the content industry now wants to use the claim of copyright to bar the access Americans have to information and entertainment, when, how and in the form they choose appropriate for their children,” concluded Shapiro.

In conjunction with the CEA, the amicus brief was filed by NetCoalition, Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA), U.S. Internet Service Provider Association (USISPA), Home Recording Right Coalition (HRRC), Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) and Internet Commerce Coalition (ICC).