Perfect 10 Sues Tumblr Over Posted Images

May 7, 2012 3:30 PM PST

NEW YORK — Tumblr, the microblogging platform and social networking website, has been hit with claims that its infringing on Perfect 10's copyrights.

In a suit filed on Friday at U.S. District Court in New York, Perfect 10 charges Tumblr Inc. not only allowed copyright infringement but that its staff uploaded images themselves to jumpstart the business.

Tumblr allows users to post text, photos, links, music and videos. Its services also permit subscribers to search for images, says Perfect 10, noting that a simple query for Perfect 10 model Luba Shumeyko shows up on Tumblr.

Perfect 10 President Norm Zada claims Tumblr was served with six takedown requests. Zada's company is seeking $5 million in damages.

"This is very straightforward," Zada told XBIZ. "We decided to sue Tumblr because they didn't respond to any of our DMCA requests."

Tumblr is one of the web’s top social-networking and blogging sites.

Perfect 10, meanwhile, has fought tooth and nail over its right to control its images, suing Google in 2004 for using thumbnail images in its search results.

That suit, on appeal at the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, went in favor of Google, with the court ruling that the search giant's use of thumbnails was fair use under copyright law.

Perfect 10 through the years has sued scores of other outfits over infringement claims, including cyberlocker sites Megaupload, Giganews and Rapidshare.  

In the Tumblr suit, however, a fair use ruling is unlikely because pictures on the site are full sized, not thumbnails.

Zada says all of the cases filed are clear cut copyright infringement cases and what makes a difference in the outcome is "running into a bad judge."

"We just need a court that is sympathetic to our case," he says.

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