A British court has rejected a website owner’s complaint against Google for defamatory words in its search results. The problem started with the search results of a website owned by Designtechnica Corp., which apparently displayed offensive words regarding Metropolitan International Schools Limited (MIS), based in the UK.. The website hosts forums that had some derogatory complaints, and MIS wanted Google to remove those words from the search results. They sued both Google and Designtechnica.
The court ruled that Google is not a publisher and is not responsible for the results of searches based on content on websites. Website owners themselves are responsible for their content. If it exists somewhere on their website, there is a chance that it will end up in Google search results. As a result, the judge threw out the case.
Google has come under fire from other website owners in the past in France, the Netherlands, and Spain, all with similar claims that the search engine company should not allow certain words or phrases to appear in the website description area.
“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,” [Judge] Eady said. “It is for him to access or not, as he chooses.”