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Location: Manchester, Lancashire, United Kingdom

On a quest for knowledge

November 26, 2004

Google sued by nude photo website

Adult Site Suing Google

I come across this news article the other day and wanted to add it to SEO Forum Watch Blog but had to stop my self as I further thought about the implications this law suit could make to the world search.

The article I read was on the BBC news website titled “
Google sued by nude photo website". The basics of the article is that an adult website that charges its users to access copyright protected nude pictures of famous women is claiming to have lost revenue through people being able to access their content for free using Googles image search.

I don’t want to get into the actual story but am more interested in the actual implications it would have on the search industry.

Aggressive Indexing

Google has two main ways of inclusion into their index; you can submit your site or just be linked too by someone already listed in the index. When Google crawls the web and finds new links it follows them and indexes the new site found. No asking the owner if they want to be included and no terms and conditions signed by the website owner.

When your site is indexed any pictures you have on the site are also copied onto Google’s servers where searchers can find them by using Google’s image search. All your content is also copied onto their servers for all to see. This is infringing copyright law and could have a dramatic effect on the way search engines index sites in the future.

It is possible to stop Google from indexing your site by adding code to your site but that does not mean that Google are not contravening copyright by offering a method to prevent it from happening. The problem is that through no action of your own and without any warning or permission your sites contents can be copied.

So what does it all mean?

This is the question that kept spinning around my head, I’m sure if the law suit is won it is going to have some massive effects on search engines that you use this method to find new sites. A simple solution could be when a search engine finds a new site it wants to index is to send an email to the owner requesting permission or not to index new sites by following links at all instead opting for manual submissions only.

I’m also wondering how many other savvy webmasters could jump on the law suit bandwagon, you could simply take a picture of yourself (nude if that floats your boat) upload it to a site that offers people to pay for the privilege of viewing, get a link pointed to it and wait for indexing and file a law suit.

The possibilities have got to be endless of how this could affect the future of search.