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Porn Site Drags Visa And MasterCard To Court

Perfect 10 Inc. should be making buckets of money from its adult Web site. Thousands of people are forking out $19.99 a month to see Perfect 10's racy videos and photos.

Unfortunately, most of this money is going to Web sites that have made unauthorized copies of the company's images. These sites put Perfect 10's works on their own Web sites and charge people money to engage in a little online voyeurism--not a dime of which gets passed on to Perfect 10, the owner of the works.

More to the point, Bridges maintains, MasterCard and Visa merely were providing financial services to the sites, and these services weren't part of any infringement. Whatever services the credit card companies provided were too far removed from the actual infringing activities to hold these financial institutions liable, he says.

Perfect 10 disputes this, alleging the credit card companies were heavily involved in the infringement. "Visa and MasterCard inspected the [infringing] Web sites and the merchants, [which ran the sites]," King says. "Their agreements with the merchants gave them the power to edit the content on these Web sites." He adds that the agreements "have several other specific requirements that give them some actual control over the businesses [of the Web sites]."

Less Than Perfect

Litman agrees with Band's assessment and believes Judge Ware's ruling was good public policy.

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Steven Seidenberg

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