Australia’s Supreme Court rules Google is not a publisher

Google has won a key lawsuit, and the Supreme Court of Australia has ruled (PDF) that it is not a publisher. In the lawsuit (PDF), the plaintiff is Melbourne lawyer George Defteros, who searched a search engine for a link to a news item about him, published in The Age newspaper in 2004, saying Defteros Conspiracy and incitement to murder underworld figures such as Carl Williams. The charges were dropped in 2005. Defteros dismissed the report as defamatory and asked Google to remove the link from its search results. Defteros then accused Google of defamation as a publisher of search results. The Supreme Court of Victoria in 2020 upheld Defteros’ view that the search giant was a publisher for defaming Defteros. Google appealed to the Supreme Court, arguing that it was a navigator of content, not a publisher, and described itself as a convenience phone company. This time the Supreme Court is on Google’s side.

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