Milorad Trkulja Loses a Defamation Appeal to Google in an Australian Supreme Court

Milorad Trkulja Loses a Defamation Appeal to Google in an Australian Supreme Court

An Australian has lost to Google. The media reports can be read in: The GuardianThe Age and the Sydney Morning Herald

The Court’s judgment is on this link.

The Justices of the Victorian Court of Appeal did NOT rule that Google cannot EVER be a publisher and therefore immune from litigation. In para [37] the Justices state:

In all, in our opinion, the secondary publisher/innocent dissemination defence analysis appears to be both the preferable outcome in point of principle, and to be a rational way of dealing with the problem of results produced by a search engine. It follows that it should be accepted that the production of results by an internet search engine does not constitute a primary publication of those results. The operator of the search engine may be liable, if at all, for any defamatory content in the search results (in which we include autocomplete predictions) only as a secondary publisher.

Under Australian defamation law a secondary publisher can be liable.  That said, not all will see it that way.

A post on the influential SEO journal, Search Engine Land, gleefully jumped the gun, so to speak, and proclaimed that the decision in which the plaintiff won a jury trial from 2012 was reversed:

Whoah, hold your horses guys. I know you want to see all of us go down in flames (because, like, you have not had your life ruined by Ripoff Report) but seriously, read the judgement. I  tweeted:

Apparently Barry Schwartz was listening because the article was edited in about 5 minutes.

Of course the article text was still ‘selective’ but what the hell, this is a small battle to fight.

 

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