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Google May Face Big Damages In SA Defamation Case

Google May Face Big Damages In SA Defamation CaseDr Janice Duffy has been trying for more than six
years to clear her name and remove links to defamatory material when people
search for her using Google. The searches lead to extremely negative reviews of
Duffy on the US based Web site Ripoff Reports.

The Supreme Court last week found that Google is legally responsible when its
search results link to defamatory content. The case will return to the court
today to establish possible damages that Google may be ordered to pay. Google
may also choose to appeal to the High Court.

According to Nicolas Suzor, a senior lecturer in law at Queensland University
of Technology, the case highlights a complex jurisdiction problem: it was
launched against Google Inc, a US company, not Google Australia.

Writing on The Conversation Web site, Suzor notes that Duffy lost a case against
Google Australia several years ago, because the court found that the search
giant’s Australian arm had no effective control over search results.

But in launching a case against the US parent company, there is no guarantee
that Duffy will be able to collect any damages the Australian company may
award. US law largely protects publishers against defamation lawsuits unless it
can be shown that the publisher acted maliciously.

“Foreign corporations can often ignore Australian judgements. It is
practically impossible to enforce an Australian award for damages or an order
that the search engine remove the content in US courts,” says Suzor.