Feeds

Olympic champ's mom sues Google for dead blogger's post

Good luck with that

Security for virtualized datacentres

The mother of US Olympic speedskating phenomenon Shani Davis is suing Google for refusing to remove a posting to its Blogspot site that was made by a user who has since died.

It's questionable how far the lawsuit, filed last week in Illinois state court on behalf of Cherie Davis, is likely to get. Legal scholars say the Communications Decency Act (CDA) immunizes web hosting companies for postings made by their users. In theory, aggrieved parties are supposed to go after the people who actually penned the content, something that isn't possible in this case, since the blogger, Sean Healy, died of cancer a year after publishing the article in question.

Headlined Memo to Cherie Davis, the item alleges the speedskater's mother made disparaging comments about the views of the US Speedskating Federation. Cherie Davis made no statements of the kind, her lawyer, Kurt Kolar, insists, and because Healy is no longer around to atone for the alleged defamation, it is left to Google to make things right.

"The blog is dormant and no one really has any interest in keeping that up there," Kolar told The Register. "The purpose of the suit is to not squelch speech so to speak, but to get a defamatory statement removed from the internet via the party that is most able to do so."

The Blogspot item is especially egregious because it pops up first in Google searches querying Cherie Davis's name, Kolar said.

Perhaps, but it will be interesting to see how far the suit gets. As already pointed out, there's this thing called the CDA that most lawyers agree pretty much gives Google a green light to proceed as it has so far, which is to steadfastly refuse to remove allegedly defamatory content.

What's more, Cherie Davis has taken no action against Australian newspaper The Age, which was the source of the allegedly defaming statements. Depending on the day, that article, which cites several emails Cherie Davis allegedly sent, appears about dozen results from the top.

Not that the suit is hopeless. Kolar's ace in the hole may be winning a court order declaring the posting is, in fact, defamatory. While Google refuses to remove allegedly libelous content, "the only exception to this rule is if the material has been found to be defamatory by a court, as evidenced by a court order," Google says. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.