There is a repeating pattern in online defamation cases against Google. An individual’s reputation is alleged to be tarnished by Google’s search results or its autocomplete feature. The individuals plead with Google for help. As one of the Internet’s most important gatekeepers, Google is in a position to stop the damage, especially because its algorithms are the source of it. Google refuses to help, or does so only partially. Courts rule against Google finding it a publisher, at least once it has notice. Google, appeals the decision, apparently unconcerned about the damages its search services cause to members of the public or the financial and emotional costs of litigating against one of the planet’s richest companies. Google loses the appeal.
Archive for the ‘Internet defamation’ category
Is a search engine liable for publishing defamatory materials that are assembled for the first time in an automated manner by its programmed computers? In the recent Australian case Trkulja v Google Inc LLC & Anor (No 5)  VSC 533 (12 November 2012), a jury found Google liable. The trial judge confirmed the jury’s ruling holding that search engines are publishers for the purposes of defamation law when their computers produce and put together search results in accordance with their intended operation.