Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
defamation, lawsuits, links, search engines


Suing Google Because You Don't Like What It Links To

from the another-day,-another-bogus-Google-lawsuit dept

Google's lawyers certainly are kept busy these days, given all the questionable lawsuits that seem to keep showing up. We've already covered numerous examples of Google getting sued by people who don't like how certain sites are ranked -- including last week's story of a Chinese professor who is planning to sue Google (and Yahoo) to call attention to the fact that both search engines have removed all evidence of his existence from their search engines in China (after he called for a more democratic China). Reader Jon writes in to let us know of a slightly different lawsuit against Google. Rather than complaining about missing content, this one is about there being too much content found by Google. That is, two Australian real estate agents are suing Google for linking to an allegedly defamatory article about the agents.

Of course, even if the article is totally and completely defamatory, it's hard to see how Google has any liability whatsoever. If there's a defamatory article, then the liability is on whoever wrote it and put it online. The fact that Google found it in a search shouldn't transfer liability to them -- even if (as the agents indicate) Google was told that the content was defamatory. Google is merely a search engine and cannot be held liable for the content it links to. Hopefully this case gets thrown out of court rather quickly.

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