Judge says Google is 'passive wall'

6 March 2012

Google PopeyeGoogle has pretty much got widespread immunity from English defamation laws after a ruling from Mr Justice Eady, who agreed with the notion that the search engine is merely a "platform provider" and "should not be regarded as a publisher, or even as one who authorised publication".

"It is no doubt often true that the owner of a wall which has been festooned, overnight, with defamatory graffiti could acquire scaffolding and have it all deleted with whitewash", said the judge, adding, "that is not necessarily to say, however, that the unfortunate owner must, unless and until this has been accomplished, be classified as a publisher."

This all came about after former Conservative Party hopeful and law student, Payam Tamiz, tried to sue Google Inc over comments made on a Blogger blog. The publication labelled him, without justification, a drug dealer and a thief. Thanks to this ruling, the case is now dead leaving Tamiz facing around £20,000 in lawyers' bills. Being a Tory, he can probably afford it.

The judge said the allegations could not necessarily be dismissed as "mere vulgar abuse" and it was "not altogether surprising" that Mr Tamiz chose to sue Google as most of the posts were anonymous and it would have been difficult to track down those responsible.

Catrin Evans, representing Google, argued "it has no control over any of this content" and, far from being a publisher, is merely "a neutral service provider". The judge joined in, saying that: "Google Inc makes the point that it has no way of knowing whether the comments complained of were true or not, or subject to some other defence in law. It argues that it cannot reasonably be expected to investigate and determine the truth or falsity fo allegations made by bloggers".

He added: "One needs to be wary of analogies when considering modern technology, but it may perhaps be said that the position is, according to Google Inc, rather as though it owned a wall on which various people had chosen to inscribe graffiti. It does not regard itself as being more responsible for the content of these graffiti than would the owner of such a wall".

What are you waiting for? Get drawing crude phalluses everywhere!

TOPICS:   Technology


  • Larry L.
    Wow, I'm surprised, given Eady's record and the precedent of such infamies as Godfrey vs Demon Internet (showing my age there a bit).
  • Mike H.
              ▄█▀█▀█▄         ▄█▀  █  ▀█▄        ▄█▀       ▀█▄        █           █        █           █        ▀█▄▄  █   ▄█▀          █  ▄▀▄  █          █ ▀   ▀ █          █       █          █       █          █        █          █       █          █       █    ▄█▀▀█▄█       █▄█▀█▄  ▄█▀▀    ▀            ▀▀█ █▀                      ▀█ █                        █ █           ▄█▄          █ ▀█         █▀ ▀█        █▀  ▀█▄      █▀   ▀█     ▄█▀    ▀█▄▄▄█▀      ▀█▄▄▄█▀
  • Alexis
    Give that man a prize!
  • Dick
    Yeah, he wins a cock for insertion in the arse.
  • M4RKM
    Drawing phalluses aside, surely this has some kind of precedent when it comes to those bit torrent sites that the entertainment industry is chasing. As people are anonymous on it, it is difficult to know who is posting what, so they chase the site. But the site in question is just a platform provider of a way for people to publish torrents. Maybe I'm reading too much into it, and should go back to drawing cocks on my work. M
  • Payam T.
    Fuck you Mike.
  • An O.
    So if google is not the publisher or content provider...then theres nothing wrong with pirate bay yes? whats the difference between them or google being responsible for the content it links to?
  • Mary H.
    Google has fuck all to do with this, they don't host the site, it's just a fucking search engine. I would have thought being a law student and a politician, Payam Tamiz would have a few more brain cells. Obviously another case of the witless taking on the bigger man to their own gain.
  • Clarkson
    What a nob!
  • EngineerScotty
    Google own Blogger, so they are more than just a search engine in this case.
  • Payam T.
    Stop bein mean on me, ladies.

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