from the knocking-the-wall-down,-one-head-on-collision-at-a-time dept
Bev Stayart, tireless bringer of lawsuits against various search engines for their supposed besmirchment of her good name by placing it next to words like "Levitra," "Cialis," and various porn-related ads, has batted a solid .000 thus far in her legal career.
In 2009, she sued Yahoo! for violating the trademark on her name (no. really.) with its search results, which often produced listings for porn sites and malware. (She, or her legal counsel/husband, also found time to threaten Techdirt with a lawsuit if it didn't remove certain comments on the original post. Techdirt didn't and the lawsuit failed to materialize.) This suit was dismissed later that year, with the court denying her request to refile.
So, Stayart tried a different tack, suing Yahoo! for violating her "privacy rights." This suit was also tossed. In between filing suits against Yahoo! and having them tossed, Stayart filed another "pissed-off-at-search-engines" suit against Google, this time because her name seemed inextricably linked with Levitra in Google's suggestion box. This suit was dismissed as well, as she again failed to prove that her name was a marketable term eligible for trademark protection. All the while, the obvious solution has continued to elude her --- stop suing and mentioning porn, malware and Levitra in your lawsuits and your name might stop being connected with those terms by search engine algorithms.
The latest court decision keeps her hitless string intact, again finding in favor of Google. Stayart's latest angle was to claim Google "misappropriated" her name because (mostly thanks to her legal efforts), "bev stayart levitra" remains a top search suggestion.
On Wednesday, however, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals tossed her yet another loss in her lawsuit against Google, upholding a decision made by a district court in 2011. In the appellate case, Stayart argued that her rights under Wisconsin's right to privacy laws had been violated under §995.50(2)(b).Many have tried but very few have proven (even in friendlier courts) that search engine algorithms just "have it in" for some people, linking them with ED drugs, porn, malware, Russian gang activity, etc. These many "victims" all share the same self-destructive tendency to file and refile lawsuits, with each filing further cementing the link between their names and the terms they'd rather not have connected with them.
"The use, for advertising purposes or for purposes of trade, of the name, portrait or picture of any living person, without having first obtained the written consent of the person or, if the person is a minor, of his or her parent or guardian" constitutes an invasion of privacy, the law states.
But the Court disagreed.
"Stayart has not articulated a set of facts that can plausibly lead to relief under Wisconsin's misappropriation laws," the court wrote (PDF).
In fact, the court cited her own previous case against Yahoo!, in which that court found that there had to be a "substantial rather than an incidental connection between the use and the defendant's commercial purpose."
But this lesson remains lost on Stayart. It looks like she's ready to step up to the plate again, in hopes of finally getting on base.
Stayart called Ars back, and said that she vehemently disagrees with the decision, and is considering appealing the case to the United States Supreme Court, as well as other suits. However, she noted that her counsel (also, her husband) will make those decisions.She adds that she feels the decision was "economically-based" and favored the "one percent." I'm really not sure exactly WHY she feels this way, but I'm sure the future will be full of opportunities for her to explain herself. And when the legal paper starts flying again, Stayart will find herself relentlessly pursued across various search engines by her old nemeses, Levitra and Cialis.