In Australia, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) is forced to cough up over $208k over an alleged defamation lawsuit. The money will go to a man named Milorad Trkulja, who claimed that Google showed search results that may make people assume he’s associated with the mob.
Milorad Trkulja is an entertainment producer that was shot back in 2004. After the shooting, Google’s search results linked his name with referenced organized crime. Back in 2009, his lawyer called the links defamatory and asked for them to be removed.
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Fortunately for Trkulja, the jury and Judge David Beach sided with him. Beach explained, “Google is like the newsagent that sells a newspaper containing a defamatory article. While there might be no specific intention to publish defamatory material, there is a relevant intention by the newsagent to publish the newspaper for the purposes of the law of defamation. “
This loss could become a catalyst for other lawsuits in the near future. The court ruled that Google holds some responsibility towards incorrect links. This could lead to similar lawsuits.
Interesting enough, this wasn’t the first time Trkulja sued a large search engine and won. He also sued Yahoo over a similar case and won 225,000 in Australian dollars.
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) is considering an appeal in hopes they can overturn the ruling.
Trkulja defended his lawsuit to the Australian Financial Review when he said, “My life is my reputation. If a person loses his reputation, he has nothing.”
I don’t think Google is going to sit down for the lawsuit. I think they are highly likely to file an appeal for this case. At press time, Google has yet to make a public statement regarding the case. It should get interesting when the search engine giant decides what to do next. Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) isn’t the type of company to back down from important matters, and this one could be an issue that would affect them in the future.