Google asks court to reverse 2020 ruling – Lawyer got $40,000 in ‘defamation damages’ via hyperlink


Google says they could “act as a censor” if the top court doesn’t strike down a law that resulted in an attorney being awarded $40,000 in “libel damages.” The company defends that a hyperlink is only a hyperlink and not a direct communication of what it refers to.

Google asks the High Court of Australia to overturn a 2020 decision

According to the story of EngadgetGoogle has asked the High Court of Australia to overturn a 2020 ruling that the company says could have a “devastating” effect on the much wider internet.

Speak deposit that the huge search giant released on Friday, Google claimed the company would be forced to “act as a censor” if the nation’s highest court decides not to overturn a ruling that resulted in the search lawyer gets $40,000 in libel damages.

George Defteros asked Google to remove an article

The Guardian reported that the attorney obtained the money through an article the company linked through its search engine.

In 2016, George Defteros, a Victopria state lawyer known for his list of former clients that includes people involved in the notorious Melbourne gang killings, tried to contact Google to ask them to remove an article from 2004 from age.

The article reported on certain murder charges that prosecutors had filed directly against Defteros regarding the deaths of three men. Said charges were later dropped in 2005, but the company still refused to remove the article from its official search results because it considered the publication a “trusted source”.

Victoria Court of Appeal rejected Google’s offer

The particular case then finally went to court, with Defteros successfully arguing that the Google article and search result had in fact defamed him, according to another article by The Guardian. The judge who would have overseen the case actually ruled that The Age reporting had suggested that Defteros did in fact have close ties to the Melbourne criminal underground.

On top of that, the Victoria Court of Appeal later even rejected Google’s offer to overturn the entire decision. As far as Google is concerned, the company sees the problem here as one of the fundamentals of the entire Internet.

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What this could mean for the internet

Google insists that a hyperlink is not in itself “the communication” of what it directly links to. This is what the company argues in its direct submissions to the High Court. If the judgment of 2020 stands, many changes may occur.

Google says that if the judgments are upheld, it will effectively make the tech giant liable as publisher for any particular topic posted directly on the web to which its search results provide a hyperlink. These will obviously include reports from even reliable sources.

In its defence, the company points the finger at a 2011 decision of the Supreme Court of Canada. This particular decision held a hyperlink by itself is officially “never a publication of defamatory material”.

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This article belongs to Tech Times

Written by Urian B.

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