Google, Yahoo Fined In Argentina Because Searches On Band Name Leads To Porn Sites

from the liability-screwup dept

Reader Osno points us to the latest in misplaced liability rulings... this time in Argentina. Apparently both Google and Yahoo have been fined (Google translation) approximately $15,000 (US) after a lawsuit from a member of a popular reality show band accused both search engines of leading people to pornographic websites when people searched on her name. This reminds me of a similar lawsuit in the US, that is still ongoing and seems unlikely to get very far. It's difficult to see how a search engine can be responsible for what others put up on a porn site, or the fact that a search on someone's name leads people to a porn site. But... apparently that's what the judge in Argentina decided. There's a separate jurisdiction issue here as well, since neither Google nor Yahoo have operations in Argentina. Either way, it's expected that the companies will appeal, and hopefully the higher level courts will recognize that this shouldn't be a search engine's liability.


Reader Comments (rss)

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Aug 3rd, 2009 @ 12:29pm

    Sounds about right

    Ah, Argentina, where the Germans speak Spanish.

     

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    res2 (profile), Aug 3rd, 2009 @ 12:35pm

    If they have no jurisdiction, why waste the money on an appeal? Why not just ignore?

     

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    Rob R. (profile), Aug 3rd, 2009 @ 12:59pm

    Well, if they had named their band something more original than "Bandana" they may have ranked better for searches related to their band. That's like naming a band "Jeans" or "Hat" and being upset when something pops up that doesn't relate to the band.

    People seriously need to get a grip.

     

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    Fatduck (profile), Aug 3rd, 2009 @ 1:00pm

    The translation is poor, but this is most likely a default judgment rendered because Google/Yahoo ignored the lawsuit (since Argentina has no means to collect on the judgment). This happens all the time.

     

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    Bubba Gump (profile), Aug 3rd, 2009 @ 1:04pm

    i'm surprised it took this long

    IMO there has always been something vaguely pornographic about the word "google"

    I used to just google my wife, not i can google pretty much anyone I want to ;-)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2009 @ 1:07pm

    I don't think it's the band's name but the singer's name, Virginia Da Cunha, that is in question. The translation seems to say it pulls up pornographic images of the singer? I searched it and she's a hot chick for sure but nothing bad came up. Not even anything pg13 in fact.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2009 @ 1:08pm

    I don't think it's the band's name but the singer's name, Virginia Da Cunha, that is in question. The translation seems to say it pulls up pornographic images of the singer? I searched it and she's a hot chick for sure but nothing bad came up. Not even anything pg13 in fact.

     

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      Luke Stackwalker, Aug 3rd, 2009 @ 2:47pm

      Re: Virginia Da Cunha

      Maybe this is her (and Bandana's) way of getting publicity. Hell, I never heard of her before this but I was willing to google her for a laugh.

      A new business model maybe, sue in a foreign cuntry (pun intended) for the press.

       

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    Yakko Warner, Aug 3rd, 2009 @ 1:10pm

    I wonder...

    I wonder if the Barenaked Ladies have this problem...

     

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    Francisco de Zavalía, Aug 3rd, 2009 @ 1:28pm

    While I share the sentiment this article has a couple of factual mistakes.
    1. Its not a fine. Google and Yahoo were considered liable and thus have to pay damages.
    2. Google, at least, has operations in Argentina (a beautiful office in Puerto Madero and more than 100 employees). So collecting the money won't be a problem.

    I also hope that this will be reversed on appeal and that this gives incentives to our politicians to reform our laws as soon as possible.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2009 @ 1:46pm

      Re:

      Not anymore. They pulled that office out and moved operations to Brazil, AFAIK.

       

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      Rekrul, Aug 3rd, 2009 @ 3:22pm

      Re:

      2. Google, at least, has operations in Argentina (a beautiful office in Puerto Madero and more than 100 employees). So collecting the money won't be a problem.

      It's such a shame that there's no country-to-country computer network that would allow Google to run its business entirely from the US, but still allow people in other countries to access it.

      Someone should really build something like that so that these companies wouldn't be forced to open offices in every single country in the world...

       

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    Fatduck (profile), Aug 3rd, 2009 @ 1:54pm

    Wait, the problem is that it pulls up pornographic images OF THE SINGER?

    Sounds like Google is doing exactly what it's supposed to do, then.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2009 @ 2:01pm

    Let's sue the internet for generating porn. That's sure a good idea! It's not like that's not what at least 70% of the male population does on it. /sarcasm.

     

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    Francisco de Zavalía, Aug 3rd, 2009 @ 3:02pm

    Luke

    What is the meaning of "Foreign country" in the age of internet? Google is as local in Argentina as it is in the U.S. if you operate globally you risk global liability.

     

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      Ryan, Aug 3rd, 2009 @ 4:22pm

      Re: Luke

      It means the same as it did before the age of the internet. Operating in a location is not the same as being accessible in a location. If you are correct in Google still having an Argentinian office, then they would certainly be compelled to comply with the ruling if they wished to retain it -- I'm sure it wouldn't hurt their bottom line all that much if they didn't. This stuff certainly doesn't provide online companies with much incentive to operate in Argentina, however.

       

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    Gonzalo Alonso, Nov 24th, 2009 @ 5:58am

    Argentina models won search engines

    You´re wrong. Both Google and Yahoo! have operations and offices in Argentina, and under argentine law, they are liable because of the content they link and the images they reproduce (Intellectual Property Law, Section 31).

     

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