Website chief threatens to sue Google for libel

A British businessman is threatening a landmark legal action against Google, the world's leading internet search engine, after claims that it has defamed him.

Brian Retkin has warn that he will proceed with a libel case against the web giant unless it removes links to defamatory comments about his internet company.

Lawyers for Dotworlds, which registers distinctive domain names, have sent Google what lawyers call a "letter before action".

Mr Renton, 48, the company's managing director, of Wembley, north London, said he would sue if Google did not take down the links about his company posted anonymously. "Based on what I know today, I am determined to go ahead with this," he added.

View: Telegraph

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22 Comments

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Even though he's from the UK isn't he subject to the jurisdiction of California? If so, have fun trying to win this

Either he's beyond stupid for suing a search engine for displaying soem websites comments about his company or he's just out for the money.

testman said,
What I don't understand is that why doesn't he sue the website that actually said it? Or is he just stupid?

Well that's a greedy b######... oops ... he is going to sue Google if they index that :P

testman said,
What I don't understand is that why doesn't he sue the website that actually said it? Or is he just stupid?

No, he is actually very smart. I doubt the company that actually said it has billions of dollars - Google does. Smart choice.

In reality, he might get away with winning this one, the way the courts have been ruling against giant companies in the past.

It's been a while but I'm pretty sure I remember being told that if you repeat a libel, you are just as liable as the original libeller. I guess it hinges on whether a search engine is a publisher or not.

That's absolutely correct. A repeat of a libel is a libel to which the publisher can be held accountable. Though as you intimate, I just can't see that Google can be held accountable as a publisher of the libel. A transport for it, yes, but hardly a publisher.

Google is not responsible for the content on the pages that it indexes. Google didn't create the content and google doesn't host the content. This will (or at least should) get thrown out of court really quickly.

TCLN Ryster said,
Google is not responsible for the content on the pages that it indexes. Google didn't create the content and google doesn't host the content. This will (or at least should) get thrown out of court really quickly.

What about the cached pages then? That's a copy hosted by Google.

Say the website in question was taken down. Even in this case, Google would still be hosting the cached page and making it available.

TCLN Ryster said,
Google is not responsible for the content on the pages that it indexes. Google didn't create the content and google doesn't host the content. This will (or at least should) get thrown out of court really quickly.

Wow thats sounds like a statement from an admin over at ThePirateBay!!!!!
Funny why there case hasn't been thrown out yet!!!!!!

this moron has obvesly not payed attention in school to the rights of the free speach act, you can say what you want bar a few things and its fine, to the man that thinks he is clever: You clearly have no brain, try hiring someone with the slightest bit of intelligence before coming up with total crap

n_K said,
this moron has obvesly not payed attention in school to the rights of the free speach act, you can say what you want bar a few things and its fine, to the man that thinks he is clever: You clearly have no brain, try hiring someone with the slightest bit of intelligence before coming up with total crap

The Human Rights Act is very new - it certainly wouldn't have existed when he was at school and I'm pretty sure they don't teach it even now. Furthermore, one's right to free speech does not extend to being immune from libel action.

What a moron. Google is not responsible for what people think of his company's website. The only thing I can find that this guy wouldn't like is a discussion about some fraud Dotworlds was apparently involved in. It's one result, and it's a discussion. It's not Google's problem that it shows up.

I hope this gets thrown out extremely fast.

But now there will be more search results on articles about this company suing over Google articles about their suckage. Kind of a catch twenty-two there.

What a joke, if search results for a company show results that say the company sucks, well then I guess the company sucks!