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Google to Pay Libel Damages

Reuters has reported that the Superior Court of France has ordered Google Inc to pay 5,000 euro to a man claiming that searching for his name on the search engine resulted in suggestions harmful to his reputation. When users searched for the man’s name, “rape” and “prison” were suggested as possible keywords (he had previously been convicted and imprisoned for corrupting a minor).

Counsel for Google argued that Google Suggest was a constantly changing function based on other users searches on the same or similar topics; it was not a deliberate or malicious decision on the part of the Directors or Technicians of the company.

Libel can be easiest explained as defamatory material which is published and distributed. In Australia, the distinction between libel and slander (both forms of defamation) was removed following the introduction of the Uniform Defamation Laws in the Australian States. A spokesperson for Google Inc. has confirmed that they will be appealing the Superior Court’s decision.

The full article can be found here

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