A porn company called Perfect 10 recently sued microblogging platform Tumblr for copyright infringement almost five years to the day of the social network’s inception. Tumblr, host to over 46 million blogs, is also home to a spectacular amount of pornography, and Perfect 10 claims the site facilitated the “rampant and unremedied uploading, display and distribution of Perfect 10’s copyrighted photographs.”
Perfect 10 also asserts tat Tumblr never followed through with six requests from the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) to remove its content from their servers, and that “Tumblr employees have posted infringing content to Tumblr servers, to help start the business, including content which infringes upon Perfect 10’s Copyrighted Works.” Safe harbor laws aren’t meant to protect content that is knowingly distributed but proprietors of a hosting site, and Perfect 10 is somewhat known for legally pursuing these sorts of instances of infringement.
Perfect 10 first went after Google in 2004, over the search giant’s use of thumbnails owned by the porn server, prompting an examination of what sort of content falls under fair use. Google lost that case, which was eventually overturned in 2007, though Perfect 10 is back at it again, in a situation some think was bound to happen with Tumblr. Sites that host user-generated content tend to hide behind putting the blame for any sort of seedy or illegal activity on said users. Though, the case with Tumblr is a bit different – besides the fact that the case deals with headline-making pornography, something Rick Santorum wishes would just go away, Perfect 10 alleges that actual Tumblr employees had a hand in jacking their content for illegal sharing.
As of late, Google and Facebook obliged to plainly remove user content from their social networks in India that was considered to be incendiary, and a judge in Germany has ruled that YouTube is responsible for copyrighted music that was uploaded by its users. It will be interesting to see how the case with Tumblr pans out. Perhaps new regulations will be established not only regarding fair use, but also with all the porn on the site.