SOURCE: Imageline, Inc.

August 28, 2007 08:30 ET

Imageline Research Discovers Tens of Millions of Copyright Infringements Through the Image Search Engines of Google and Others

Users of Image Search Engines on the Internet Are Potentially Liable for Copyright Infringement Claims Even Though They Might Not Know What They Download Is Infringing

ASHLAND, VA--(Marketwire - August 28, 2007) - Imageline, Inc. of Ashland, Virginia today issued a warning to all Internet users who access and download electronic graphic arts content (clip art illustrations, design templates, animations, or logos) from the Internet via image search engines or directly from web site publishers who are known copyright infringers. See the official News Release at http://www.imageline2.com.

"It is estimated that 85% of all the downloads involving this kind of content contain unauthorized images," states George P. Riddick, III, the founder and CEO of Imageline. "We are not approaching these end users directly, but are trying our best to stop these cascading infringements from the top down in this industry," continues Mr. Riddick. "This is a major intra-industry problem."

According to research conducted by Imageline over the past five months, all of the leading image search engine companies in this country (Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft, IAC/Ask.com, and Time Warner/AOL), and some of the major ones abroad (including Baidu in China and Rediff in India) are guilty of direct infringements from their web sites and servers. "These publicly funded search engine companies have traditionally blamed the small independent web site publishers for these illegal activities," states Mr. Riddick. "But during our research we found that many, if not most, of the infringements were, indeed, direct copyright infringements and not 'indirect' or 'fair use' as these major public companies have proclaimed."

Imageline, in conjunction with other copyright holders, intends to conduct a major public awareness campaign beginning this fall to inform Internet users of their potential risks and liabilities and to educate them as to how they can cease the unlawful activity and help hold accountable those companies who systematically ignore the copyright laws in this country and the international guidelines agreed to by the Berne Convention and the WIPO treaties in the late 1990s as well. Imageline is also asking other legitimate copyright holders to help.

Mr. Riddick continued, "The DMCA does not protect these giant image search engine companies from this type of direct infringement. It is time that these companies come clean and admit what they do is illegal. What kind of copyright example do they set for the rest of the civilized world?"

Specific examples of how this "image search" infringing activity actually works can be found by visiting the Imageline web site at Image Search... The Unknown Crisis with "Chilling Effects."

For more information on this and other copyright-related issues pertaining to the Internet, contact George Riddick at griddick@imageline2.com.

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