Perfect 10 are no strangers to lawsuits. From 2005 to the present day they have sued several huge companies for either allegedly using their images without permission or somehow being connected to infringements.
Notable among them are Google, Microsoft and Amazon (for providing search engine results) and Mastercard, Visa and CCBill for providing payment services for allegedly infringing sites. Private settlement with Amazon aside, most of this legal action was a complete failure.
Undeterred, in 2009 Perfect 10 went after cyberlocker giant RapidShare, claiming that the company was infringing its copyrights by having Perfect 10’s images on its servers. That case failed too and RapidShare countersued.
With one failed file-hosting lawsuit behind them, this year Perfect 10 went after another – MegaUpload – and with the ink barely dry on that lawsuit, the company is getting even more adventurous.
As spotted by Slyck, Perfect 10 have now sued Giganews, one the world’s leading Usenet providers. Also in their sights are a number of Giganews resellers under the umbrella of LiveWire Services Inc. Perfect 10 is throwing a number of allegations at the companies including copyright and trademark infringement and unfair competition.
Perfect 10 describes Giganews as a company operating “virtual warehouses containing billions of dollars worth of copyrighted works” including “pirated movies, songs, images [and] computer programs.”
Furthermore, Giganews is accused of inducing and assisting others to infringe copyright and of selling illegal content to LiveWire and associates including rhinonewsgroups.com, powerusenet.com, infinityusenet.com, eurousenet.com, galacticgroups.com, cheapnewsgroups.com, fastusenet.com, usenetgiant.com, and usenet.net.
“Defendants are also aware that the USENET no longer has any significant legitimate application and virtually all of the activity on the USENET involves the authorized copying and distribution of infringing materials,” Perfect 10 allege.
“Defendants have in total, copied, distributed, displayed, and sold, more than 165,000 Perfect 10 copyrighted images – roughly 15,000 Perfect 10 copyrighted images per website.”
It would not be a surprise if Perfect 10’s images were to be found on the worldwide Usenet system, but providing Giganews complies with correctly formatted DMCA takedown requests, the company has protection under the law. “Correctly formatted” appear to be the key words here.
Perfect 10 says that on March 25th 2009, it sent Giganews “800 Perfect 10 copyrighted images, a number of which displayed Perfect 10 copyright notices”. Apparently, Giganews wrote back explaining that they could not find the images in question based on the information in the notice, a claim that Perfect 10 refutes.
“Giganews could have found each and every one of those images by using its own search function to search for the image identifiers provided with Perfect 10’s notice,” say Perfect 10 in their lawsuit.
“Once it found an infringing Perfect 10 image in a particular group of such images (called an “article”), it could have blocked other Perfect 10 images displaying Perfect 10 copyright notices in that same group, but failed to do so,” the complaint adds. This appears to be a reference to some kind of proactive deletion work Perfect 10 required of Giganews.
TorrentFreak has it on good authority that Giganews does in fact comply with many rightsholders and takes down content quickly once it has received a correctly formatted DMCA complaint. One of the things they ask for is a so-called ‘Message-ID’, which in basic terms is equivalent to a URL on the worldwide web. Giganews even provide a template for takedown requests, which can be found here.
In their complaint Perfect 10 seem to suggest that by providing a DMCA complaint in the form of an actual image, it’s then the responsibility of Giganews to search for the items on Usenet in order to remove them. Interestingly, in their 2010 legal action against RapdShare it transpired that Perfect 10 had failed to provide precise locations for allegedly infringing content in their takedown notices, a factor which helped them lose the case.
After multiple attempts and failures in similar lawsuits, Perfect 10 will be hoping that Einstein was wrong all along and that progress against Giganews will net them a jury trial and the cool $25 million they’re claiming.