Perfect 10: porn publisher or copyright troll?

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Perfect 10: porn publisher or copyright troll?

Mon Jun 14, 2010 @ 01:11PM PST

By Eriq Gardner

What's more lucrative — a copyright or a woman's breasts?

Not too long ago, the answer was easy. Publishing photos of nude women was a pretty good business. But these days, even adult entertainment publishers are struggling to forge a viable business model in a digital age where cheap titillation exists everywhere online.

So would any company be in the porn business merely to sue others?

Yes, says file-hosting company Rapidshare. In a new countersuit against adult publisher Perfect 10, Rapidshare accuses its adversary of being a "copyright troll" that runs "essentially a paralegal service masquerading as a porn company."

Over the years, Perfect 10 has developed a reputation for being litigious, filing lawsuits against Google, Amazon and Microsoft, among others, for displaying thumbnails of its photos of bare-breasted women. Those cases have gone all the way up to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and the decisions have helped shape ISP liability for linking with brief snippets to copyrighted work. Perfect 10 has mostly been a loser in these cases, but it's kept fighting anyway.

Lately, Perfect 10 has targeted Rapidshare, a company that's raised eyebrows among many copyright holders. A few weeks ago, a federal court in California refused to grant Perfect 10's requested injunction against Rapidshare.

A pretty good victory for Rapidshare, but it wants more. The German-owned company that operates in Switzerland wants a court to order Perfect 10 to pay $75,000 in damages for engaging in unfair business practices that has harmed its reputation. Rapidshare says that Perfect 10 has abandoned its ambitions to be the next Playboy to instead go on a litigation rampage.

Here's the court filing filed by Ian Ballon at Greenberg Traurig.

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The Hollywood Reporter
The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to Matthew.Belloni@thr.com

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