Bev Stayart Loses Yet Again In Her Quixotic Quest To Blame Search Engines For Search Results She Doesn't Like

from the stayartisms dept

We've covered Beverly "Bev" Stayart a few times -- and even been legally threatened by Stayart and her lawyer (also named Stayart). As you may recall, Stayart sued Yahoo/Overture after doing a search on her name, and seeing a suggestion that included "levitra" and "cialis." Stayart took offense to such terms being associated with her name. She tried a few different questionable legal theories including "privacy rights" and that because the search engine made the suggestions, the search engines have liability for impermissably selling her name. It had also kicked off with a trademark claim over her name, despite the lack of any trademark in her name. The threat against us was because she didn't like some of our comments, which necessitated us having our lawyer explain Section 230 to her as well, after which we never heard from Stayart again. However, after losing in her lawsuit against Yahoo, she sued Google over the same "levitra" connection. Oh, and she appealed and lost her original loss against Yahoo.

Well, she's now lost her case against Google as well. The court, after mentioning the earlier cases, basically notes that it could have just dismissed the case on Section 230 grounds, but goes beyond that to dismiss the case on the overall merits. It dumps the publicity rights claim by noting that (a) she failed to show her name has any commercial value (needed to get publicity rights) or (b) that Google ever actually made use of her name.
First, plaintiff alleges no facts which suggest that her name has any commercial value or that Google derives any pecuniary benefit as a result of the connection on the internet between her name and sexual dysfunction medications. Second, plaintiff alleges no facts which suggest that Google used her name for any purpose much less that of advertising or trade. Plaintiff’s allegations establish no more than that Google enables internet users to access publically available materials connected to plaintiff’s name. And it is not unlawful to use a person's name "primarily for the purpose of communicating information. . ."
The court also rejects her claim that Google is selling ads on the phrase "bev stayart levitra" by noting that Google is clearly selling ads just on the term "levitra," rather than on her name (though, it's questionable if it's in any way against the law to sell ads on someone's name).

Eric Goldman, who wrote the analysis linked above, wonders if she'll appeal this ruling too and give the Seventh Circuit appeals court "a second mocking opportunity." Meanwhile, I feel compelled to point out -- once again -- that the further Stayart tilts out this particular windmill, the stronger and stronger the connections between her name and the terms she finds so objectionable becomes. This was pointed out all the way back when she began this campaign, and it appears she still hasn't quite understood this concept.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Jay (profile), Mar 16th, 2011 @ 7:37pm

    Look on the Bright Side

    With her fighting like this, it clearly sets precedents in court for bad actors in the future.

    Rock on young, Bev-who-can't-figure-out-good-common-sense-if-it-hit-you-over-the-head-with-a-bottle-of-Aspirin Stayart, rock on.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 16th, 2011 @ 7:41pm

    I think I am about to set me up a few adwords given the above recommendation.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 16th, 2011 @ 7:56pm

    Former US senator Rick Santorum has come to grips with his surname's unfortunate association and it's WAY worse than Ms. Stayart's.

    Take a lesson, Bev.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 16th, 2011 @ 8:20pm

    I see no one has mentioned content farms yet. Google recently changed their algorithms to end the practice. Before it ended, content farms tended to reflect what ever your search terms were.

    If Bev searched with the terms that so upset her, I can guess what she saw somewhere on the search page results. However that wasn't Google's doings but rather it was those content farms gaming the system to get higher page ranks to be seen.

    While I have no way of knowing this is what happened, it is a strong possibility.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 16th, 2011 @ 9:13pm

    Now go away or shall taunt you a second time!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Reminds me of a joke..., Mar 16th, 2011 @ 10:02pm

    Bev Stayart and an SEO expert go on a date, love, matchmaking, casual sex, levitra, cialis...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
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    GeneralEmergency (profile), Mar 16th, 2011 @ 11:43pm

    I wax longingly o'er the fair Bev Stayart

    .
    .
    Oh Bev, Oh Stayart, So meek and chaste.
    Why Dost thou encumber the Courts with waste?
    Oh Bev, Oh Stayart, Our mistress of feck.
    How can thee be so inactive above the neck?
    .
    .

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2011 @ 6:08am

    Clearly the solution to this problem is to ban all courts and lawyers. What have they ever done for anybody, amirite?

     

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  9.  
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    abc gum, Mar 17th, 2011 @ 6:16am

    Re:

    Shameless plug?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    The Devil's Coachman (profile), Mar 17th, 2011 @ 6:34am

    Here's another association

    I think that her name should also bring up references to "stupid cow".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
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    David (profile), Mar 17th, 2011 @ 7:17am

    Re: Here's another association

    Well, you just set up Mike for her next lawsuit from her :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
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    JustMe (profile), Mar 17th, 2011 @ 8:26am

    Just trying to understand here

    So she was concerned about results for "bev stayart levitra" appearing when someone used the words "bev stayart" but not levitra. Sure, I can understand why Bev Stayart would be concerned about people searching for "bev stayart levitra" because she is clearly a respected lawyer and not someone who sells levitra. However, in this case they were probably searching for "bev stayart" and levitra ads happened to show up in the search results page.

    Similarly, if you search for "Bev Stayart Marblecake" you do not get any results, but there are two paid advertisements for unrelated products. This does not mean that Bev Stayart makes or sells marblecakes.

    I wonder if anyone ever explicitly searched for "bev stayart levitra" when they actually meant to search for "bev stayart" and not levitra. In that case they should use the search term "bev stayart NOT levitra"

    Additionally, I wonder if anyone ever searched for "bev stayart cialis", or "bev stayart cialis levitra" in these search engines, because, as I said, Bev Stayart is a respected lawyer and not someone who sells cialis or levitra for discount prices with guaranteed delivery offered at no cost and a 100% money back guarantee.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2011 @ 10:20am

    Re: Here's another association

    Who, "Bev Stayart" ? Is that who you want google to reference "stupid cow" ?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2011 @ 12:21pm

    Wonder if she's used the same attorney throughout, or been through many in an attempt to find any that don't understand the law they represent, or don't care?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2011 @ 1:06pm

    Re: I wax longingly o'er the fair Bev Stayart

    Her name is linked with Levitra and Cialis. There's obviously nothing going on below the waist either!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
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    hmm (profile), Mar 17th, 2011 @ 2:49pm

    well

    wonder what happens if you take the adwords "Stayart wants to have you under the bench right now your honor"

    it'd be hilarious to watch her sue for that..and perhaps a treat for the judge.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
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    GeneralEmergency (profile), Mar 17th, 2011 @ 3:41pm

    Re: Re: I wax longingly o'er the fair Bev Stayart

    .
    .
    Oh Bev, Oh Stayart, Fine Queen of Levitra.
    Me thinks thine attorney is trying to cheat ya.
    Oh Bev, Oh Stayart, Sweet font of Cialis.
    No Animals were harmed while trying to write this.
    .
    .

     

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  18.  
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    Bob, Jun 6th, 2012 @ 5:20pm

    Bev Stayart has won a legal victory in Walworth County Circuit Court, Wisconsin, against Various, d/b/a AdultFriendFinder and AdultFriendFinder.com. On May 16, 2012, Judge James L. Carlson ruled that Stayart stated a cause of action for violation of her right of privacy and publicity under Wisconsin law. Judge Carlson denied Various' motion to dismiss. The case is Stayart v. Various, d/b/a AdultFriendFinder and AdultFriendFinder.com, Case No. 2011-CV-1115. Stayart alleged that Various used her name on its website AdultFriendFinder.com, as well as on websites of its affiliates to drive traffic to its online dating service and increase membership. Bev Stayart is represented by John M. Murphy of Murphy, Volbrecht & Kuehn, S.C. in Elkhorn, Wisconsin.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
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    Stan, Jun 7th, 2012 @ 6:39am

    "Masnickism" is defined as the failure to understand that state privacy and publicity rights protect all people from the misappropriation of their names for purposes of advertising or trade. "Masnickism" is rampant on this website, from the lowliest anonymous techie to the namesake of "Masnickism."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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