Entries categorised as Defamation in Cyberspace:

Google liable in Australia for defamation as a publisher and a re-publisher

Posted On January 19, 2016
In Defamation in Cyberspace / Comments Off

An Australian court has ordered Google to pay $100,000 damages for defamatory material indexed by its search engine.

In Duffy v. Google Inc, the Supreme Court of South Australia found that Google was liable for defamation as a primary publisher of both automatically-generated search result “snippets” and of auto-complete search suggestions, but only after it had been notified of the defamatory content and failed to remove it.

The court also found Google liable as a secondary publisher of defamatory material contained on third-party websites to which its automatically-generated search results hyperlinked.

You can read accounts of the decision from the Australian and the US perspectives.

We’re not the Internet content police, says ICANN

ICANN has declared it is not, and cannot be, a content regulator.

In a recent blog post, ICANN’s Chief Contract Compliance Officer, Allen R. Grogan, states ICANN “was never granted, nor was it ever intended that ICANN be granted, the authority to act as a regulator of Internet content”.

Accordingly, despite calls for it to do so, ICANN will not use the 2013 Registry Accreditation Agreement to require a registrar to determine whether a website is engaged in illegal activity, to demand that a website operator or registered domain name owner cease illegal activity, or to suspend a domain name if a website operator or registered domain name owner does not cease illegal activity.


$A105,000 damages for defamation via Twitter and Facebook

Posted On April 8, 2014
In Defamation in Cyberspace / Comments Off

A former Orange High School student has been ordered to pay damages of $105,000 for defamatory tweets and Facebook postings.

The NSW District Court decision is believed to be the first time a Twitter defamation case has proceed to trial.

NZ court adopts ‘noticeboard’ reasoning on social media defamation

Posted On July 5, 2013
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A New Zealand judge has adopted the Tamiz v. Google ‘noticeboard’ analogy for the hosts of blogging platforms when considering the liability of Facebook page hosts as publishers of third party content

Courtney J in Wishart v Murray held that the host of a Facebook page has the power to both delete postings and block users, and so could not be seen as a passive instrument or mere conduit of the information posted on the page, reports Buddle Findlay.

As such, if a host of a Facebook page knows, or should reasonably know, that defamatory material is posted on their page, they will be regarded as the publisher of that information.


Google not liable for misleading auto-generated search terms

Posted On March 26, 2013
In Defamation in Cyberspace, Privacy in Cyberspace, Trade Marks in Cyberspace / Comments Off

A US court has ruled that automatically-generated search terms that are misleading do not constitute a common-law misappropriation or an invasion of privacy.

Dissatisfied with the results of internet searches for her name, Beverly Stayart launched a legal campaign against internet search engines. In her third lawsuit, she contended that Google was in violation of Wisconsin misappropriation laws because a search for “bev stayart” may lead to a search for “bev stayart levitra,” which in turn may lead to websites advertising drugs to treat male erectile dysfunction.

The district court found she had failed to state a plausible claim for relief. The Seventh Circuit dismissed her appeal because the use she alleged fell within two exceptions: public interest and incidental use.

First, Stayart had made the challenged search phrase “bev stayart levitra” a matter of public interest by suing Yahoo! over it in 2010 – and as a matter of public interest, that phrase cannot serve as the basis of a misappropriation suit.

Secondly, Stayart had not pleaded any facts showing a substantial connection between Google’s use of her name and its efforts to generate advertising revenues, triggering the incidental-use exception to Wisconsin’s misappropriation laws.


UK rules platform provider can be liable for defamatory blogs

Posted On February 25, 2013
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In Payam Tamiz v. Google Inc., the UK Court of Appeal has held that Google may be deemed a “publisher” of (and held liable for) defamatory user-generated content appearing in blogs hosted by Google after being notified of the content’s defamatory nature.

Davis Wright Tremaine reports that although the judgment was ultimately in Google’s favor, the decision highlights the significantly different legal principles that govern responsibility for user-generated content in the US and UK.

Whereas in the US ISPs and web site operators are provided with immunity from defamation claims arising from user content (even if the ISP or operator declines to take down alleged defamatory user content following notice), the UK has developed a notice-based liability regime for Internet intermediaries.

Argentinian court rules on search engine liability

Posted On January 9, 2013
In Defamation in Cyberspace, Privacy in Cyberspace, Trade Marks in Cyberspace / Comments Off

The Argentina Court of Appeals in Civil Matters, Division D, has ruled that unless web search engines have been duly notified about the existence of illicit content indexed by them, they are not liable for the content of third-party websites.

As Obligado & Cia reports, the Court of Appeals overturned a first instance ruling that Google and Yahoo! were liable for the mental distress caused to a singer and model whose name and image appeared on websites containing pornographic content. Users could access these websites by typing the singer’s name into the search field of Google Inc and Yahoo!

According to the Court of Appeals, the civil liability of the web search engines arises only after the injured party has requested the blocking of online content that is considered to be harmful, and such request has been ignored.

In this regard, it is necessary that the injured party acts in good faith, identifying the specific content and location of the material to be blocked. Absence such notification, there is no liability on the search engine.

Internet defamation claims on the rise as online reviews impact the bottom line

Posted On December 20, 2012
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Internet defamation suits will increase in frequency as review sites become more prevalent in our everyday consumer transactions, explains Fredrikson & Byron.

Hyperlinks do not republish alleged defamatory material

Posted On December 13, 2012
In Defamation in Cyberspace / Comments Off

In In re Phila. Newspapers LLC, 690 F.3d 161 (3d Cir. 2012), the Third Circuit held, among other things, that linking to previously published material is not “republication” under the single publication rule, reports Holland & Knight.

Australian court orders Google to pay $200,000 damages for defamatory search results

Posted On November 21, 2012
In Defamation in Cyberspace / Comments Off

The Supreme Court of Victoria has ordered Google to pay damages of $200,000 for publishing search engine results found by a jury to be defamatory.

In Milorad Trkulja v Google Inc, a jury found that certain images and web pages generated by the Google search engine in response to a query using the plaintiff’s name imputed that “the plaintiff was so involved with crime in Melbourne that his rivals had hired a hit man to murder him”.

Google subsequently argued that the jury decision should be overturned because there was no evidence on which a reasonable jury could find for the plaintiff. In particular, Google argued it could not be said to be the “publisher” of the images and pages, and in any event that it was entitled to the defence of “innocent dissemination”.

The court rejected Google’s arguments. While acknowledging that search engines operate automatically, the court stated they “operate precisely as intended by those who own them”.

Thus, it was open to a reasonable jury to find that Google published the search engine results and did so with knowledge of their contents.