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Man 'googles' Himself, Sues For Libel
Posted 21 March 2004 - 05:30 AM
Man 'Googles' Himself, Sues for Libel
Search Engine Reportedly Returns 'Alarming' Information About Him, Firm
An accountant who said an Internet search engine returned "alarming" information about him and his firm sued Google, AOL, Time Warner and Yahoo! Friday for libel. Mark Maughan is a certified public accountant with the Brown & Maughan firm. He claims that on March 25, 2003 he was told by friends and family that typing "Mark Maughan" into a Google search engine delivered "alarming, false, misleading and injurious results" about him and the business.
Posted 21 March 2004 - 08:02 AM
I haven't posted it in case of litigation!
Anyway, I think Yahoo have a cast iron case - they weren't using Google on 25th March
Posted 21 March 2004 - 08:29 AM
Posted 21 March 2004 - 02:18 PM
You are right Anthony that our legal system is ridiculous. I'll probably get sued by the guy now when he finds this post in a search engine and sees that I called him a bone head.
Posted 21 March 2004 - 03:01 PM
Google just enables people to locate information
Oh you know how that goes. A lawyer argues that as Google has taken indexed pages out of their index in the past they no longer are just a provider of information but actively interact with it. Bla bla, yada yada.
Nice try though. The defense can now argue that these steps are what causes really harmful information to come up about this guy; your business partner is a dribbling idiot.
Posted 21 March 2004 - 05:40 PM
It certainly puts search engines in a sticky situation doesn't it? I can't imagine how they could be held liable, however.
Posted 21 March 2004 - 06:20 PM
No, he is suing Google for taking snippets from the document and forming them into a sentence that he believes defamed him. He states if they (Google) hadn't edited the text he wouldn't sue.
Rather like if someone had a page which said "Barry Lloyd is a warm and wonderful person, unfortunately some moron thinks he is a d*ick-wad..."
And when I looked up the name Barry Lloyd - Google came back with:
Barry Lloyd is a..moron..d*ck-wad...
You could hardly sue the writer - but I might be a bit pissed at the Google algo that produced this. That is the point of the lawsuit (as far as the person behind it is concerned).
Posted 21 March 2004 - 07:40 PM
Apparently, these folks have no clue what PageRank is...that's all I could gather from the article:
He said PageRank "scans the source, but in doing so, it's not a literal transmission. A literal transmission would be fine."
Girardi wants a court order to prevent Google from using PageRank. He said members of a class action could include anyone also allegedly libeled by the search engine.
But Barry's interpretation sounds exactly right.
That's actually a very interesting law suit.
Posted 21 March 2004 - 10:00 PM
Caution: Content is not the responsibility of Google but of the original authors and a random algorithm?
Like the one we see everywhere saying: Caution: Coffee is served hot.
The lawsuit business is doing well here in America. I just hope the lawyers don't sue themselves out of customers. I've even heard that in this town like others that modern-day ambulance chasers go around looking for businesses that are not accessible to the disabled and file a suit on the behalf of the disabled community without even having a legit. plantif just to recover attorney's fees. Most of the time the business settles because to fight costs more than the settlement and the poor guy in the wheelchair says "Why is everyone ticked at me?"
I'm glad I'm not an honest lawyer! That would be a tough stereotype to break.
Posted 21 March 2004 - 10:34 PM
of course, that's why I work in SEO now.....
Posted 21 March 2004 - 10:58 PM
"What do you call 5000 lawyers put on a boat and drowned at sea? A good start..."
Posted 22 March 2004 - 12:36 AM
Posted 22 March 2004 - 01:33 AM
Well, think SearchKing and Google's defence that their PageRank algo was an editorial method and came under freedom of speech legislation - and as such they could edit anything they liked.
The plaintiff's lawyers probably think that use of it in their algo also enables them to be sued for libel.
I think this one might have some legs - it is quite an interesting argument.
Edited by MakeMeTop, 22 March 2004 - 01:42 AM.
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