Miami Heat Owner Sues Google to Be Less Google-able


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paidContent reports that Ranaan Katz, a minority owner of the recently-crowned NBA champs Miami Heat, is suing Google because the search engine has refused to take down a photo of Katz that he isn't particularly fond of.

So what uncouth activity is Katz doing in the photograph? Nothing. Well, nothing more than what just about everybody else in the world has been caught doing before in a photograph: momentarily sticking his tongue out during an unaware moment.

These types of photos are actually pretty common when photographers are working live events. For some reason, people just stick their tongue out a lot, usually before they speak or pronounce the "th" sound or maybe they just have some mildly dry lips. As these things go, the photo of Katz certainly could have been a lot worse. But it's not. Everybody has their clothes on and nobody's doing anything lewd or depraved. It's just a silly photo of a tongue sticking out of a mouth.

Google has become ensnared in Katz's lawsuit because the company refused to remove the photo after Google was sent a Digital Millennium Copyright Act takedown notice. The photo appears to have made its internet debut on a website called RK Associates, a blog that is critical of Katz's real estate business in Miami. Katz is suing the blogger, as well, who is named as Irina Chevaldina. This makes the second time that Katz has sued the blogger within the past year.

paidContent re-posted the photo and although I think WPN could probably share the photo, too, under the protection of copyright's fair use law, we've opted not to include the photo since it's unclear as to what the original source of the photo is and, really, nobody wants to get sued around here. However, the photo is still up on KA Associate's blog post if you'd like to see how not-very-scandalous the boring photo is.

Katz joins a gallery of dubious crusaders who have brought legal action against Google because the company refused to remove some kind of content that, while not exactly death-threatening or directly harassing, does represent a person in an unflattering position or situation. In the United States, none are more famous for bringing attention to his Google problem quite like Rick Santorum has done. Although Santorum only asked Google to help him with his Google problem and never resorted to legal action, such was not the case with Max Mosley, who actually spent quite a bit of money in the United Kingdon's courts trying to get the search engine to remove a video from YouTube that depicted Mosley attending a Nazi-themed S&M orgy.

If Katz had limited his lawsuit to the blogger, the ordeal may have remained relatively quiet. However, by including Google in his lawsuit to have the picture removed, the story has immediately been escalated to the national (if not global) level and now Katz is likely to experience that lovely phenomenon known as the Streisand Effect before realizing that his tongue-flapping picture won't be disappearing from the internet.