Remember when Google labeled every site as "dangerous"? Someone tried to sue them over it... By Emma Barnett, Technology and Digital Media Correspondent Published: July 20, 2009 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technolo...ibility-for-indexing-defamatory-comments.html Google cleared of responsibility for indexing defamatory comments A landmark ruling in the High Court has cleared Google of all responsibility for indexing defamatory comments that appear in blogs, news articles and forums. A High Court judge has ruled that Google cannot be held responsible for defamatory comments, which appear on its search results page, as it is a facilitator and not a publisher. The search engine giant was brought to court by Metropolitan International Schools, a company which operates learning courses in the development of games under the name Train2Game. It was attempting to sue Google after comments it claimed were defamatory, written in a forum of a website, appeared on Google?s search results page. However, Mr Justice Eady, a High Court judge who specialises in defamation cases such as the recent Max Mosley trial, ruled on Friday, July 17, that Google was not a publisher of the comments, only a facilitator through automated results and therefore could not be held responsible for them. "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. ?It is for him to access or not, as he chooses. [Google] has merely, by the provision of its search service, played the role of a facilitator.? A Google spokesperson said: ?We are pleased with this result, which reinforces the principle that search engines aren't responsible for content that is published on third party websites. Mr Justice Eady made clear if someone feels they have been defamed by material on a website then they should address their complaint to the person who actually wrote and published the material, and not a search engine, which simply provides a searchable index of content on the internet.? The ruling will bring the UK more in line with the US legislation on this issue. Section 230 of the US Communications Decency Act makes it clear that intermediaries are not liable for defamation online. However, until now no such ruling existed in the UK, nor has Google ever had to defend itself against this claim before. Struan Robertson, a technology lawyer at Pinsent Masons, said it was the first time a judge had made a ruling on search engine liability for defamation under UK law. ?It is undoubtedly a brilliant result for Google and other search engines,? he explained. Mr Justice Eady did add that Google has a duty to block or remove content if it is notified with a legitimate complaint about libelous material. MIS are also suing the individual website, Digital Trends, which was responsible for hosting the forums containing the defamatory comments. This part of the case continues.