Pornography Publisher Sues Microsoft MSN - InformationWeek

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8/15/2007
06:53 AM
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Pornography Publisher Sues Microsoft MSN

Did you hear the one about the pornography company squealing about exploitation? Perfect 10, a magazine that publishes images of naked women, is steamed at Microsoft's MSN search engine, which is linking images of these nubile young women to Web sites that have not paid for viewing, let alone duplicating, its pictures and videos. Some of these Web sites have even been cutting and pasting celebritiesï&

Did you hear the one about the pornography company squealing about exploitation? Perfect 10, a magazine that publishes images of naked women, is steamed at Microsoft's MSN search engine, which is linking images of these nubile young women to Web sites that have not paid for viewing, let alone duplicating, its pictures and videos. Some of these Web sites have even been cutting and pasting celebrities faces on top of the models bodies. Perfect 10 claims that the search engine could greatly curb the problem if it would simply delist obvious infringers but such a step would adversely affect their revenue. To force such actions, Perfect 10 hauled Microsoft into court at the end of last weekIllegal copying of information is certainly a problem on the Internet. Information is now accessible to just about everyone with a few clicks of a mouse. The benefit is hundreds of millions of people now have easy access to needed data. The downside is that sometimes valuable company assets are copied and pasted without proper compensation. In fact, companies, such as Kessler International, MarkMonitor, and Marksmen have established thriving businesses helping companies protect their brands from Internet pirates.

While there certainly are problems and more work by search engine suppliers  as well as other vendors  is needed, I am a bit skeptical about Perfect 10s motivation. In my opinion, the company, which bills itself as a publisher of tasteful model and supermodel images, has a credibility problem and is not in a position to become the standard bearer for addressing the problem. Company president Dr. Norm Zada states, They (Microsoft) are also showing extremely explicit sexual images to viewers of any age, yet one only needs to go to its Web site (WARNING: sexually explicit material -- be greeted by a host of women parading about without any clothes on. No warnings, no step to prove one is 18, nothing. I am not sure that tasteful is an apt adjective for boxing matches among models, events that have then been shown on Showtime. The magazines actions smack of a cheap publicity stunt, which is unfortunate because more has to be done to reign in rogue Web sites.

What do you think? Is the company being a good corporate citizen or a boorish self-promoter? How much accountability should MSN and other Web sites have for controlling renegade Web sites? What are you doing to protect your Web assets?

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