An Australian court has ruled that Google is a search engine and not a publisher of a defamatory article, siding with the tech giant in a lawsuit on Wednesday morning local time.
Overview : It’s a victory for Google in a years-long libel lawsuit in which the company argued that article hyperlinks “only communicate that something exists…and it’s the operator of the webpage that communicates the content to the user.
Driving News: George Defteros, a lawyer, previously sued Google, arguing that the publication of a 2004 article by Australian media outlet The Age about his arrest for conspiracy and incitement to murder defamed him. The charges were dropped in 2005.
- Google had been notified of the defamatory article in February 2016, but only removed it in December 2016. Users accessed the article 150 times during that time, according to the Newcastle Herald.
- A court sided with Defteros and awarded him $40,000 in damages in 2020.
- But the tech giant argued it was “browser only and not a content publisher”, writes the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
What they say : “In reality, a hyperlink is just a tool that allows a person to navigate to another web page,” the High Court ruling said.
- Google representatives did not immediately respond to Axios’ request for comment.