Feeds

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

Good luck with that

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

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. ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Bose says today is F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.