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UK Courts Clear Google Regarding SERP Defamation Suit

In a landmark decision for the UK defamation law, a court in the UK has ruled that the search engine bellwether Google is “not” responsible for any defamatory remarks that appear in articles, blogs, and forums showed in its search results.

David Eady, the High Court judge, cleared off the defamation charges against Google, by claiming that the search engine only makes the information available, instead of being the direct publisher of it.

The contentious case was filed by London-based Metropolitan International Schools (MIS) against Google’s UK and US operations, claiming some of its search results displaying comments on a US-based forum, named “Digital Trends”, were defamatory with some users saying that the firm’s distance-learning courses were “nothing more than a scam.”

MIS conducts distance learning courses in games development under the tag “Train2Game”, and it sued the forum’s owners as well as Google for showing the derogatory remarks in its search results.

Backing the court’s decision, judge Eady said; “When a snippet is thrown up on the user's screen in response to his search, it points him in the direction of an entry somewhere on the web that corresponds, to a greater or lesser extent, to the search terms he has typed in”.

However, Eady did emphasise that the search engine giant has to take responsibility to ban or remove derogatory remarks if informed with a legal complaint.

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Our Comments

Google cannot possibly control all the content that is present in its index database; that would be a time consuming, counter-productive as well as costly process. Like Youtube though, Google needs to be very careful with regards to derogatory and defamatory content.

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