Yet Another Person Sues Google Because They Don't Like Pornographic Results When People Search On Their Name

from the it-happens dept

You may recall the series of lawsuits filed by a woman named Bev Stayart who was quite upset about how certain search results on her name appeared. It appears that she's not the only one. Eric Goldman alerts us to a new lawsuit filed against Google by one Alex Petrov, who seems quite upset that when you search on his name, images that he doesn't appreciate show up. There doesn't seem to be any actual legal claim in the filing, so I would imagine it's not long for this world, but Petrov states that Google is purposely trying to "create an association between the name 'Alex Petrov' and sexual content and activities of an offensive nature." Sometimes it makes you wonder if, in lawsuits involving technology, they should make certain people prove they actually understand the technology about which they're suing.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. icon
    Lisa Westveld (profile), Feb 24th, 2011 @ 5:25am

    Funny. I just googled his name and the third picture is a fat, naked guy with a small penis. :-) Definitely very gay!
    I think this could be because the name is reasonable common and some gay porn actor might be using the same name. In that case, the pictures are just proper, matching the right content. :-)

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

  2. identicon
    Michael, Feb 24th, 2011 @ 6:00am


    How paranoid do you have to be to think that Google is actually INTENTIONALLY matching porn with searches of your name. I'm sure they have nothing better to do than matching up this guys name with porn.

    I wonder how long it will take for people to actually find a real connection.

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

  3. icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Feb 24th, 2011 @ 6:16am

    I googled my name once...

    I was amazed to find out that I am one of the Satanic Jews bent on taking over the world, I'm apparently a Bilderburger, I'm trying to put microchips in everyone, I fail to pay my taxes, and I'm just generally a banker scumbag.

    Then I realized that Google was returning results for Timothy GEITHNER, instead of Geigner.

    Stupid Google. I thought I was awesome for a second....

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

  4. identicon
    Thanatos, Feb 24th, 2011 @ 6:17am

    Ok, I'm REALLY depressed now!! I just Googled my name and not a single porn image came up!!!! THAT'S HORRIBLE!!! Come on, Google! One set of big nippled boobs?! Anything?! Throw me a bone here!

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

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 24th, 2011 @ 6:37am

    Re: I googled my name once...

    Have you been reading Mimi & Eunice?

    Art is Stupid 2

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

  6. icon
    Vidiot (profile), Feb 24th, 2011 @ 6:40am

    Technology whiz

    How can you suggest he doesn't understand technology? Clearly, his use of forward-slashes to make a decorative border shows a longtime appreciation of the ASCII art form. I was hoping he'd make the title block look like the little Tivo guy...

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

  7. icon
    :Lobo Santo (profile), Feb 24th, 2011 @ 6:41am


    I googled my various monikers, and not a lick of porn in sight. _sigh_

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

  8. icon
    someone (profile), Feb 24th, 2011 @ 6:42am

    Re: I googled my name once...

    "I'm apparently a Bilderburger"

    I heard of Build-A-Bear, but Bild-er-Burger sound much more delicious!

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

  9. identicon
    Michael Horner, Feb 24th, 2011 @ 6:56am


    According to the big G I am both a 70's porn star AND a religious wacko! Now I gotta tell my parents and wife about my secret lives...

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

  10. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 24th, 2011 @ 6:59am

    I think he is a bit long in the tooth.

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

  11. identicon
    Google, Feb 24th, 2011 @ 7:03am

    You caught us.

    Greetings, Mr. Petrov. You have found us out. Yes, we here at Google Inc. were secretly trying to tie your name into our search engine, so that when people did a search, they would find pictures of questionable nature.

    We are sorry. :(

    - Google

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

  12. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 24th, 2011 @ 7:11am

    I searched on his name in Google (the only time I ever will) and I got him right away. No porno, even 3 pages deep. I think this guy had a wet dream.

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

  13. icon
    MBraedley (profile), Feb 24th, 2011 @ 7:28am

    All is not lost

    At least Molly Wood (the cnet editor) is smart enough to tell her podcast watchers not to google her, as there is (according to her) a porn star that shares her name. Hell, if I shared a name with a porn star, I'd do everything in my power to get my website to the top of google. Something like "If you were looking for a porn site, try this link, otherwise you're in the right place" can go a long way.

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

  14. icon
    Josef Anvil (profile), Feb 24th, 2011 @ 7:33am

    Streisand Effect.......

    Well since it was coined here, I might as well throw it in the barrel of comments.

    Why is it that I can just imagine a lot of people with a lot of spare time uploading gay porn on their websites and including (Jim) Alex Petrov in the metadata. That and loads of backlinks.

    Not only is it a Streisand Effect, but it would seem that it would make Google's rankings quite accurate and ruin his case completely, if it were not already hopelessly doomed.

    If you are really scared of gay porn associate with your name, why would you ever broadcast that fear????? He really has no clue how the net works.

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

  15. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 24th, 2011 @ 7:36am

    I found out in google that one guy with my name photographs naked ladies for a living... and his nude pictures (being art not porn)actually appear uncensored right on top of any google search... maybe i should change careers :)

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

  16. icon
    Overcast (profile), Feb 24th, 2011 @ 7:38am

    And "Bev Stayart" will be the most common google search of the day now! lol

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

  17. identicon
    Tom, Feb 24th, 2011 @ 8:08am

    Maybe he should get a trademark

    I have a great idea for Mr. Petrov. Maybe he should just trademark his name. Then he could go after anyone who tries to use "his" name for any purpose. There are probably a lot of Alex Petrov's in the world, all sitting there waiting to be sued. In fact, we should all quickly trademark our names and then sue everyone else to get them to change their names. Maybe new parents should have to register their kids' names with a new organization like ICANN, only for people's names. This would really help clean up Google results and would also give our court system some really important work to do in dealing with all the trademark violation suits. What a wonderful world it would be. (Please note extreme sarcasm.)

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

  18. icon
    CommonSense (profile), Feb 24th, 2011 @ 8:27am

    Wow, I managed to start the first Newspaper in New Hampshire in the 1700's, get elected governor of North Carolina in the late 1800's, and apparently I still haunt the governors mansion from time to time. Does that mean Google is trying to turn me into a time traveler??

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

  19. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 24th, 2011 @ 8:41am

    Google knows when you are sleeping
    They know when you are awake
    they know whether you've been bad or good
    so be good for goodness sake.

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

  20. icon
    Gwiz (profile), Feb 24th, 2011 @ 8:45am


    Try searching Google Images with "Safe Search" off and the results are a bit different. (My eyes....I think they're permanently damaged)

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

  21. icon
    Christopher (profile), Feb 24th, 2011 @ 8:58am

    Porn distance

    Porn distance n. the amount of images needed to locate the first pornographic representation of a given search term.


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

  22. icon
    GeneralEmergency (profile), Feb 24th, 2011 @ 10:10am

    Mr. Petrov should consider himself lucky!

    After careful reflection of Alex Petrov's legal claims I endeavored to conduct my own encyclopedic Google search to determine if, in addition to the pornographic photography he claims Google to be associating with his name, there are any lewd and vile sex acts associated with Mr. Petrov's name in Google's database.

    I am happy to report that I could find -NO- references to the Alex Petrov Angry Dragon, the Alex Petrov Arabian Goggles, the Alex Petrov Bait N' Tackle, the Alex Petrov Bear Claw, the Alex Petrov Beef Curtain, the Alex Petrov Blumpy, the Alex Petrov Bronco, the Alex Petrov Brown Bagging It, the Alex Petrov Brown Necktie, the Alex Petrov Brunski, the Alex Petrov Bullwinkle, the Alex Petrov Butter Face, the Alex Petrov Canine Special, the Alex Petrov Carpet Cleaner, the Alex Petrov Chili Dog, the Alex Petrov Chocolate Pizza, the Alex Petrov Cleveland Steamer, the Alex Petrov Cold Lunch, the Alex Petrov Concoction, the Alex Petrov Cop's Delight, the Alex Petrov Corkscrew, the Alex Petrov Daisy Chain, the Alex Petrov Davey Crockett, the Alex Petrov Dirty Sanchez, the Alex Petrov Dirty Swirly, the Alex Petrov Dog In A Bathtub, the Alex Petrov Donkey Punch, the Alex Petrov DVDA, the Alex Petrov Electric Chair or the Alex Petrov Fish Eye.

    Nor are there any Google references ot links to the Alex Petrov Fish-Hook, the Alex Petrov Fire Island, the Alex Petrov Flaming Amazon, the Alex Petrov Flooding the Cave, the Alex Petrov Flying Camel, the Alex Petrov Flying Dutchman, the Alex Petrov Fountain Of You, the Alex Petrov Fur Ball, the Alex Petrov Gobstopper, the Alex Petrov Golden Shower, the Alex Petrov Greek, the Alex Petrov Ham And Cheese Sandwich, the Alex Petrov High Dive, the Alex Petrov Hindenburg, the Alex Petrov Hogging, the Alex Petrov Hole In One, the Alex Petrov Hotdog In A Hallway, the Alex Petrov Hot Karl, the Alex Petrov Hot Karl Candy Cane, the Alex Petrov Hot Lunch, the Alex Petrov Hummer, the Alex Petrov Indian Cock Burn, the Alex Petrov Jedi Mind Trick, the Alex Petrov Jelly Donut, the Alex Petrov Juanita Special Bean Dip, the Alex Petrov Kennebunkport Surprise, the Alex Petrov Landshark, the Alex Petrov Lorena Bobbit, the Alex Petrov Menthol, the Alex Petrov Mellon Dive, the Alex Petrov Monkey Wrench, the Alex Petrov Mork, the Alex Petrov Moses or Alex Petrov Motorboat that I was able to locate.

    And I certainly was unable to find any search references to the Alex Petrov Mushy Biscuit, the Alex Petrov New Jersey Meat-Hook, the Alex Petrov New York Style Taco, the Alex Petrov Nixon, the Alex Petrov Oyster, the Alex Petrov Pasadena Mudslide, the Alex Petrov Pattycake, the Alex Petrov Paying the Rent, the Alex Petrov Peanut Butter And Jelly Sandwich, the Alex Petrov Pearl Necklace, the Alex Petrov Pig Roast, the Alex Petrov Pink Glove, the Alex Petrov Pirate's Treasure, the Alex Petrov Plating, the Alex Petrov Popcorn Trick, the Alex Petrov Purple Mushroom, the Alex Petrov Ram, the Alex Petrov Rear Admiral, the Alex Petrov Red Wings, the Alex Petrov Resuscitation, the Alex Petrov Roddy Piper, the Alex Petrov Rodeo, the Alex Petrov Rose Creeper, the Alex Petrov Rusty Trombone, the Alex Petrov Sandbag, the Alex Petrov Seatbelt, the Alex Petrov Shirley Temple, the Alex Petrov Shocker, the Alex Petrov Shop Vac or Alex Petrov Shrimping.

    Despite my best efforts, I was unable to locate any Google links to search terms such as the Alex Petrov Skiing, the Alex Petrov Slumpbuster, the Alex Petrov Snerd Nurgling, the Alex Petrov Snoodling, the Alex Petrov Snowball, the Alex Petrov Snuff, the Alex Petrov Stingy Nut, the Alex Petrov Sud N' Fud, the Alex Petrov Surfing, the Alex Petrov Swimmer's Ear, the Alex Petrov 3-Eyed Turtle, the Alex Petrov Tortoise, the Alex Petrov Tossing Salad, the Alex Petrov Tropical Wind, the Alex Petrov Tuna Melt, the Alex Petrov Twisted Sister, the Alex Petrov Vegetarian Hot Lunch, the Alex Petrov Wake Up Call, the Alex Petrov Walrus, the Alex Petrov Western Grip, the Alex Petrov Westside Glaze, the Alex Petrov Woody Woodpecker and the Alex Petrov Zombie Mask. These links simply do not exist in Google at this time.

    I am sure Mr. Petrov will be very relieved indeed that his good name is not associated with such filth in Google. He is quite a lucky man.

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

  23. icon
    Rose M. Welch (profile), Feb 24th, 2011 @ 10:52am

    Re: I googled my name once...

    Are you denying that you're bent on taking over the world???

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

  24. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 24th, 2011 @ 10:54am


    turn off safe search

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

  25. icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Feb 24th, 2011 @ 11:20am

    Re: Re: I googled my name once...

    "Are you denying that you're bent on taking over the world???"

    Well, no, but I'm not Jewish....

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

  26. icon
    ComputerAddict (profile), Feb 24th, 2011 @ 12:55pm

    Do these people think they are the only one with their name in the world?

    What happens when there is a porn star with the same name as one of these people?

    If any judge hears a case of "content X comes up when I type my name into google and I dont like it" I think the prosecutor should have to find and talk to everyone in the world with the same name and make sure its okay to disassociate the content with the search term.

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

  27. icon
    Rose M. Welch (profile), Feb 24th, 2011 @ 2:43pm


    Scarily enough, when I run a photo search for my name, three Techdirt user photos show up. One of myself, one of JohnJac, and one of some other guy.

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

  28. identicon
    Bob, Feb 25th, 2011 @ 11:14am

    Re: Technology whiz

    Actually, those slashes are probably the formatting preferred by the court.

    In my state, it's hyphens for horizontal lines, and right parens for vertical, and we have to make a little box like that.

    Then again, pro se litigants tend to deviate from formalities quite a bit, so you may be right.

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

  29. icon
    mermaldad (profile), Feb 25th, 2011 @ 8:33pm

    Let me be absolutely clear here...

    Let me be absolutely clear here, Alex Petrov (the plaintiff) is in no way associated with gay porn. When you think of Alex Petrov, don't think about lewd acts. Do not associate Alex Petrov with bestiality. If you are a human, don't make these associations. If you are a search engine spider, don't link these terms just because they appear near each other in so many reports and comments across the Internet.

    And definitely don't even think of Alex Petrov and Bev Stayart in a porno together...

    This ends my public service message.

    Mr. Petrov, you don't need to thank me. I'm just doing my public duty.

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

  30. icon
    CommonSense (profile), Mar 3rd, 2011 @ 2:36pm

    Re: Weird.

    Well...part of your problem is that you used Yahoo! to search, and not Google.... :-P

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

  31. icon
    Curtis (profile), Jun 3rd, 2011 @ 4:51pm

    Well that is interesting but....

    I have sued GOOG for returning nudes when you type in my name and shall add the FCC for failing to obey the Communications Act of 1934 that makes display of nudes illegal. They, of course, asked the Court to grant them Summary Judgement again but after three years it might get to a jury in about a month. Everyone else stopped except GOOG=PORN!
    Docket FREE - 265 pre-trial filings
    -Google-, Bing, Yahoo, Ask.
    Somebody is too big for their own good and thinks they can write new copyrite laws.
    Congress usually does that rather than Google Inc book search or other search!

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

  32. icon
    lrobbo (profile), Jun 8th, 2012 @ 2:40pm

    Yeah, if you're gonna sue like this you have to understand the technology at work . . . or it just makes a mockery of the system

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

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