A federal appeals court Wednesday cleared Google Inc. to resume posting tiny versions of nude photos by a Beverly Hills-based adult publisher.

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals undid a preliminary injunction, issued last year by a Los Angeles District Court, that had kept the Web search giant from displaying thumbnail-size photographs of images owned by Perfect 10 Inc. that other sites had improperly posted.

Saying the District Court erred, the San Francisco-based appeals court ruled that Google could legally display those images under the fair use doctrine of copyright law. The doctrine allows use of copyrighted work under some conditions, such as for parody or education.

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