Feeds

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

Good luck with that

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

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. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
DOUBLE BONK: Testy fanbois catch Apple Pay picking pockets
Users wail as tapcash transactions are duplicated
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
In the next four weeks, 100 people will decide the future of the web
While America tucks into Thanksgiving turkey, the world will be taking over the net
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
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.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
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.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.