Sunday, 13 May 2012

“Google Suggest": Google Condemned for Its Keyword Suggestion System

High Court of First Instance of Paris, Chamber 17, 15 February 2012, Kriss Laure c. Google Inc. and Larry P.,

Since 2009, Google has been condemned several times by the French Courts in defamation and insult cases relating to its “Google Suggest" system. For instance, in a decision of 14 December 2011, the Court of Appeal of Paris condemned Google Inc and its director of publication for an insult that was generated by Google’s keyword suggestion system. The court considered that associating the term “crook" and the corporate name of a company is public abuse on the part of Google.

In the present case, the High Court of First Instance of Paris ("Tribunal de grande instance de Paris"), in a judgment dated 15 February 2012, decided that Google’s keyword suggestion system caused public abuse by associating the term “sect" with the name of an association.

If associating the term “sect" with the name of an organisation or a person incontrovertibly constitutes public abuse, it is questionable whether Google has actually committed a criminal act in this case, since its keyword suggestion system simply reflects what the users enter into the search engine, i.e. the name of the organisation with the term “sect".

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