A judge has ruled that Google is not responsible for defamatory comments posted on blogs on its Blogger.com platform
In a written judgement in the UK High Court, Mr Justice Eady ruled in favour of Google in a libel case brought to court by Tory Party candidate Payam Tamiz.
Tamiz, who allegedly resigned as Tory Party candidate for local elections in Thanet after making inappropriate remarks, took the search giant to court over eight comments, that he claimed defamed him, which were posted on a blog called 'London Muslim' between 28 and 30 April 2011.
The allegedly defamatory comments were made in response to a blog post, written by an anonymous blogger, entitled 'Tory Muslim candidate Payam Tamiz resigns after calling girls 'sluts''. The post and its related comments were eventually taken down voluntarily by the blogger after Google passed on Tamiz's complaints.
In its defence, Google argued that it was merely a neutral service provider, not a publisher, and therefore it had no control over any of the content posted on its platform.
It also said that it could not be reasonably expected to investigate and determine the truth or falsity of allegations made by bloggers.
In deciding that Google should not be considered as a publisher, Mr Justice Eady said that the company's situation could be likened to that of the owner of a wall that had been graffitied.
"One needs to be wary of analogies when considering modern technology, but it may perhaps be said that the position is, according to Google Inc, rather as though it owned a wall on which various people had chosen to inscribe graffiti. It does not regard itself as being more responsible for the content of these graffiti than would the owner of such a wall," he wrote.