Google ordered to pay AUD$200,000 for defamation in search results

12 Nov 2012

A court in Australia has ruled in favour of a man who claimed he was defamed by Google’s search results, which linked him to a notorious figure in the Melbourne drug trade, ordering the search giant to pay out AUD$200,000 in damages.

A jury in the Supreme Court of Victoria found the search engine guilty of defamation for search results that linked the man to Tony Mokbel, criminal activity in Melbourne, and stories about an unsolved murder, the Herald Sun reports.

Justice Barry Beach then ordered Google to pay AUD$200,000 in damages, saying this was the appropriate amount to vindicate the defamed man, who was also awarded AUD$225,000 in a similar case against Yahoo.

Google’s argument that it was not a publisher and that search results are organic, reflecting content and information available online, was not enough to sway the judge’s decision, making this a landmark legal decision that could set off ripples of change in Google’s search services.

Elaine Burke is the editor of Silicon Republic