All Rights Reserved: Does Google's 'Image Search' Infringe Vested Exclusive Rights Granted Under the Copyright Law?

40 Pages Posted: 16 Sep 2008

See all articles by Eugene Goryunov

Eugene Goryunov

Kirkland & Ellis LLP; The John Marshall Law School

Date Written: 2008


Search engines such as provide a tremendous public benefit by enhancing, improving, and mainstreaming information-gathering techniques on the Internet. After the dotcom bubble burst in 2001, Google claimed a domineering position in the marketplace, securing its niche as "the nexus of human curiosity." Google's corporate mission to make the world's information more accessible and more useful is revealing of its vast influence in today's world. Google provides an ever-improving search technology that is capable of scouring billions of web sites, news articles, literary works, images, and videos in the "Indexable Web." Google features not only search functionality, but also several Internet-based services that have further solidified its online empire.

This Comment explores and seeks to derive a balance between public interest in the disclosure of a creative work and a copyright owner's exclusive rights granted under copyright law. It begins by providing a brief overview of the American copyright system and explaining the technology involved in Google's "Image Search." After an in-depth analysis of copyright infringement and fair use jurisprudence, it argues that Google's use of thumbnail images in its Image Search is fair and noninfringing. In order to preserve the usefulness of the Internet, this Comment proposes that courts recognize an interpretation of copyright jurisprudence that will promote easy access to information, while preserving copyright protections.

Keywords: copyright, internet, web page, infringement, fair use

JEL Classification: O34, K11, K41

Suggested Citation

Goryunov, Eugene, All Rights Reserved: Does Google's 'Image Search' Infringe Vested Exclusive Rights Granted Under the Copyright Law? (2008). John Marshall Law Review, Vol. 41, No. 2, 2008, Available at SSRN:

Eugene Goryunov (Contact Author)

Kirkland & Ellis LLP ( email )

Aon Center
200 East Randolph Drive
Chicago, IL 60601-6636
United States

The John Marshall Law School ( email )

315 South Plymouth Court
Chicago, IL 60604
United States

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