- Kelly v. Arriba Soft Corporation
"Kelly v. Arriba Soft Corporation" (280 F.3d 934 (CA9 2002) "withdrawn", re-filed at 336 F.3d 811(CA9 2003)) is a U.S. court case between a commercial photographer and a search engine company. During the case ownership of Arriba Soft changed to Sorceron, the operator of the
Internet search engineDitto.com.
It found that US search engines may use
thumbnails of images (size limits not determined), though the issue of inline linkingto full size images instead of going to the original site was not resolved.
plaintiffsold pictures to various publications. The defendantran a search engineon which plaintiff Kelly's pictures appeared as thumbnails. Clicking on the thumbnails would connect with Kelly's website and display the full picture in a new web browserwindow. The full picture was not stored in Arriba's system, but would nevertheless be displayed on the user's screen as a " thumbnail" in a frame environment provided by Arriba. Kelly sued Arriba for copyright infringement.
In 2002 the Ninth Circuit
United States Court of Appealsin San Francisco, Californiaoverturned a lower court summary judgmentruling in favor of the defendant, holding that:
#The thumbnails were
fair use, not copyright infringements. It upheld the right of "image search engines" to display thumbnail copies of images within their search results "so long as the website URL was linked from the thumbnail".
#The in-line links that displayed the full picture were not fair use, so were infringing the exclusive rights of Kelly.
The United States District Court for the Central District of California, Gary L. Taylor, J., 77 F.Supp.2d 1116, granted summary judgment for search engine operator based on finding of fair use, and owner appealed.
July 7, 2003the Ninth Circuit modified its initial decision. They let stand the ruling about thumbnails and fair use, but reversed decision on inline links and remanded the case to the District Court for trial because the District Court had made a decision it shouldn't have made at that stage of the proceedings. On denial of rehearing, and withdrawing and superseding its prior opinion, 280 F.3d 934, the Court of Appeals, T.G. Nelson, Circuit Judge, held that operator's use of owner's images as "thumbnails" in its search engine was fair use. 280 F.3d 934 (CA9 2002) [http://www.eff.org/IP/Linking/Kelly_v_Arriba_Soft/20030707_9th_revised_ruling.pdf]
On one of his web sites [http://netcopyrightlaw.com/kellyvarribasoft.asp] Kelly says that after failure to reach a settlement,
default judgmentin his favor was obtained on the remaining issues on March 18, 2004.
"Judgment shall be entered in favor of Plaintiff LESLIE A. KELLY, and individual and d/b/a LES KELLY PUBLICATIONS, LES KELLY ENTERPRISES, and SHOW ME THE GOLD and against Defendant ARRIBA SOFT CORPORATION, aka DITTO.COM in the sum of $345,000.00, plus reasonable attorney's fees in the sum of $6,068.20. s/Gary L. Taylor, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE." [http://netcopyrightlaw.com/pdf/kellyvarribasoftjudgement03182004.pdf]
Fair use analysis
Each of the courts that reviewed the summary judgment application conducted an analysis of the four factors which are stated in of the United States Copyright Act. [http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.html section 107] What follows is the analysis done in the revised Ninth Circuit opinion of July 2003. [http://www.eff.org/IP/Linking/Kelly_v_Arriba_Soft/20030707_9th_revised_ruling.pdf]
Purpose and character of the use.
The use was found to be commercial and transformative, not of the same type as the original work, because the images were not being sold as pictures but rather were to facilitate the identification of the images in the search engine: "This first factor weighs in favor of Arriba's due to the public benefit of the search engine and the minimal loss of integrity to Kelly’s images".
Nature of the copyrighted work.
The pictures are a published creative work available on the internet. A creative work favors a finding of infringement. As a published work, the use is more likely to be fair: "This factor weighs only slightly in favor of Kelly".
Amount and substantiality of portion used.
The court found this factor to be neutral: "Copying an entire work militates against a finding of fair use ... If the secondary user only copies as much as is necessary for his or her intended use, then this factor will not weigh against him or her ... This factor neither weighs for nor against either party ... It was necessary for Arriba to copy the entire image to allow users to recognize the image and decide whether to pursue more information".
Effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
This requires considering the effect if the actions were widespread, not solely the effect of the particular user. A transformative work is less likely to have an adverse effect than one which merely supersedes the original: "Arriba’s use of Kelly’s images in its thumbnails does not harm the market for Kelly’s images or the value of his images". The thumbnails would guide people to Kelly's work rather than away from it and the size of the thumbnails makes using them instead of the original unattractive.
Result of the analysis
"Having considered the four fair use factors and found that two weigh in favor of Arriba, one is neutral, and one weighs slightly in favor of Kelly, we conclude that Arriba’s use of Kelly’s images as thumbnails in its search engine is a fair use." [http://www.eff.org/IP/Linking/Kelly_v_Arriba_Soft/20030707_9th_revised_ruling.pdf]
List of leading legal cases in copyright law
* [http://www.eff.org/IP/Linking/Kelly_v_Arriba_Soft/ Court documents] from Electronic Frontier Foundation
* [http://netcopyrightlaw.com/kellyvarribasoft.asp NetCopyrightLaw] — Analysis of the case on the Website for Leslie Kelly's consulting services
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
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