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British Man Pushes Google On Defamation

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Brian Retkin of domain registrar Dotworlds had been criticized for offering .USA domains for sale and spamming people with sales pitches after September 11, 2001. He has claimed Google’s links to this criticism amounts to defamation.

British Man Pushes Google On Defamation
British Man Pushes Google On Defamation

If this case were in the US, where search engines and other websites generally can claim no responsibility over third party content, Retkin’s case probably wouldn’t make it out of a lawyer’s office. British law works a little differently.

A report in The Independent said that in Britain, the same legal protection is conditional. If a company does not have notice of a complaint and time to act upon it, they have some insulation from these claims.

Retkin has complained about online postings accusing him of running a fraudulent business appearing in Google’s search results. Though the report said Google claimed to have removed material and blacklisted links to it, a query for ‘Dotworlds registrar’ at press time turned up a mailing list post with those accusations as the top result.

Google’s response made the usual claim that the company is not responsible for the results of a query. "Google has absolutely no connection, control or ability to direct or influence the content of web pages which may be shown as links within any given set of search results," Google’s legal counsel Harjinder Obhi said in the report.

UPDATE: For commentary from Retkin, see our chat with him here.

British Man Pushes Google On Defamation
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